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Why Hector From Better Call Saul Looks So Familiar

Though working steadily since the 1970s, Mark Margolis scored the role of a lifetime as drug kingpin Hector Salamanca in Vince Gilligan's hit AMC television show "Breaking Bad." The show follows chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) as they cook crystal meth and navigate the dangerous drug underworld. 

First introduced in "Breaking Bad" Season 2, Episode 2, "Grilled," Margolis brings a fire and intensity to his role as Hector, a ruthless member of the Cartel. It's a credit to Margolis as an actor that, even though his character is presented in a physically diminished state after a stroke (which is depicted in "Better Call Saul"), he projects a frightening aura. Indeed, with his icy stare and piercing eyes, you know right away that Hector is someone you do not want to mess with. 

Margolis would reprise his role as Hector for the successful spin-off/prequel series "Better Call Saul." The series gives loyal viewers more of the villainous Hector and gives Margolis the breathing room to explore his character in more depth. Fans of the show might think that the actor just burst onto the scene in Gilligan's hit programs, however, you may have previously seen him previously in high profile projects both on the big and small screen.

He was the landlord in Ace Venture: Pet Detective

The famed acting teacher Konstantin Stanislavski reportedly stated that "there are no small parts, only small actors" (via Acting Magazine). This is certainly true for Mark Margolis' small but memorable role as the cranky Shickadance in the hit film "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." The film centers around a bumbling pet detective named Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) who is hired to find a missing team mascot. 

The high-energy, low-paid pet detective makes a sport out of dodging his elderly landlord, Shikadance, due to unpaid rent. In a classic moment that always has everyone howling in their seats, the raspy voiced Margolis sneaks up behind Ace and growls, "Ventura," as the whacky detective is unlocking his apartment door. 

Not missing a beat, Ace (without looking behind him) replies, "Yes, Satan?" Then he turns around and says, "Oh, I'm sorry, sir. You sounded like someone else." The veteran actor makes a ham meal out of his one and only scene, and both actors are able to play off one another brilliantly. Margolis truly makes his small part a beloved one.  

Mark Margolis was in Darren Aronofsky's first feature film

Long before he was a Oscar-nominated director, Darren Aronofsky burst onto the indie scene with his 1998 psychological film "Pi" (via IMDb). "Pi" follows an isolated math obsessed young man named Maximillian Cohen (Sean Gullette) as he gets caught up in a web of ambition, paranoia, and insanity after he discovers a hidden pattern that can predict the stock market. 

Mark Margolis is perfectly cast as neighbor Sol Robeson, who acts as a wise mentor to the film's lead character Maximillian. As with a lot of Margolis' roles, it's small but incredibly critical to the story. Throughout the movie, Sol is the only person who is truly on Maximillian's level genius-wise, and he is also the only person who both challenges and attempts to guide the young Maximillian. Not only does the role allow him to play against type, but Aronofsky's film also gives a gifted actor like Margolis room to explore the text and subtext. 

In a body of work that has almost 200 film and television credits (via IMDb), it is truly a stand out role. The movie was not only a hit with critics, with an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it ushered in Aronofsky as a staggeringly detailed and highly imaginative filmmaker. As always, Margolis makes the most with his limited screen time. 

He was Shadow in Brian DePalma's Scarface

In probably his most memorable role outside of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," Mark Margolis played Alberto the Shadow in Brian De Palma's incredibly successful remake of "Scarface" released in 1983. Written by Oliver Stone, this remake of the 1930s Howard Hawks film follows Cuban ex-convict Tony Montana (Al Pacino) as he climbs the ladder as a drug kingpin in De Palma's violent love letter to the 1980s' greed and excess. Margolis' character Alberto is the personal bodyguard for Alejandro Sosa (Paul Shenar), as well as one of his top assassins. Once again, Margolis provides depth and chilling aloofness to his character that sticks with you. 

Margolis was no stranger to working with the famed De Palma. In fact, Margolis had previously played a blink-and-you'll-miss-it uncredited role as a Bellevue patient in 1980's "Dressed to Kill." Clearly, De Palma liked working with the actor and cast him in the pivotal part of Alberto, a coldblooded hitman who is not above killing women and children in his line of work. It seems rather fitting that shades of Alberto can be found in Hector Salamanca. In an interview with Time published in September 2013, Margolis was asked who the better drug dealer was, Walter White or Tony. The actor remarked, "Walter was a lot smarter. Tony was all over the place and using his own product. He was snorting all the time! You can't use your own product." 

Margolis is a television mainstay

Even long before he stepped into his iconic role as Hector Salamanca in Vince Gilligan's "Breaking Bad," Mark Margolis has appeared regularly in television since the '80s. His first repeat guest spot came in the form of a 16-episode arc as Jimmy, a surveillance expert, in the original "The Equalizer" TV series. 

He would follow this up with one-off guest spots in shows such as "Columbo," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and "Santa Barbara" (via IMDb). In the late 1990s, Margolis had a short but impactful role in the hit HBO series "Oz" playing Antonio Nappa, a former Italian mob boss. "Oz" seems to have been an excellent training ground for the role of Hector in "Breaking Bad." 

Though he is only in eight episodes of the original "Breaking Bad" series, Margolis' character Hector has become a fan favorite, thus being brought back in Gilligan's prequel series, "Better Call Saul." Other notable roles include a memorable three-episode arch on "American Horror Story: Asylum," and more recently, parts on the TNT series "Snowpiercer" as well as "The Blacklist."