Mark Margolis as Hector Salamanca

Mark Margolis

On Breaking Bad Mark Margolis portrays Hector Salamanca, a former drug kingpin who is unable to speak or walk due to the lingering effects of a stroke.

Born on November 26, 1939, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a Jewish immigrant family from Europe, he went to Temple University briefly before moving to New York City, to pursue a career as an actor. Under the wing of famed acting teacher Stella Adler, who Margolis sees as a «larger than life» influence on his work, he launched his career with an early focus on theater, where he earned major roles in large-scale productions including Infidel Caesar, a Broadway show based on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Shortly thereafter, Margolis founded Blue Dome, a touring theater company that performed avant-garde productions, including Antonin Artaud’s The Conquest of Mexico, at colleges and universities across the United States, largely funded by the New York State Council on the Arts. Margolis then returned to theater in New York and appeared in more than fifty plays in New York’s Off-Broadway including Uncle Sam, and The Golem.

Despite being more focused on film and television these days, he does plays when he cannot live without them, which led him to the role as Bernie Madoff in an upstate New York production entitled Imagining Madoff. In addition to Breaking Bad, Margolis has had many recurring roles on television including Oz, The Equalizer, Quantum Leap and American Horror Story: Asylum, as well as guest appearances on a number of popular shows including Californication, Person of Interest and Crossing Jordan.

Margolis has an equally illustrious film career that spans over thirty years and includes about seventy films, many of which have been critically acclaimed. He is best known for playing Alberto in Scarface (1983) and for appearances in all four of Darren Aronofsky’s films, including The Wrestler (2008) and Pi (1998), Aronofsky’s first film and one that Margolis considers a favorite.

For his role in Breaking Bad, Margolis was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Guest Performer on Television. He credits in part his ability to play the critically praised Hector “Tio” Salamanca on the show to a family member who he observed and cared for following a paralyzing stroke, a fate similar to that Tio suffers.


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