Crisis Update: ‘Breaking Bad’ Star Stricken by Devastating Heart Attack

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Two men standing outdoors with a clear blue sky in the background. the older man wears glasses and a black jacket, and the younger man sports a beard and checkered shirt. both look intently towards the camera.

Credit: Netflix

If you are a fan of Bob Odenkirk, you may recall that just around three years ago, the Hollywood star had a heart attack on the set of Better Call Saul. Now, Odenkirk is ready to relive the trauma that his nearly life-ending experience had brought to him, explaining what had happened.

Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston
Credit: Sony Pictures

Bob Odenkirk is a highly successful American actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer. While he has starred in many roles, he gained widespread recognition for his role as Saul Goodman in the critically acclaimed television series Breaking Bad.

In Breaking Bad, Odenkirk portrays Saul Goodman, a shady but resourceful criminal lawyer who becomes involved with the show’s main characters, Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (played by Aaron Paul).

Saul is known for his colorful personality, cunning strategies, and unscrupulous methods in navigating the criminal underworld. He often provides legal counsel to Walter and Jesse as they descend deeper into the drug trade, offering them advice on how to evade law enforcement and deal with their rivals.

In case you have not watched the incredible series, Breaking Bad follows the story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer, as he teams up with former student Jesse Pinkman to produce and sell methamphetamine in order to pay for cancer treatments. The show explores Walter’s transformation from a mild-mannered teacher to a ruthless drug lord, as well as the consequences of his actions on himself and those around him.

breaking bad jesse and walter netflix
Credit: Netflix

Some of the other main characters in Breaking Bad include Skyler White (played by Anna Gunn), Hank Schrader (played by Dean Norris), and Gus Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito).

Better Call Saul serves as a prequel and spin-off to Breaking Bad, focusing on the character of Saul Goodman before he became Walter White’s lawyer. Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the series explores the transformation of Jimmy McGill (played by Bob Odenkirk) into the morally dubious lawyer Saul Goodman. It delves into Jimmy’s life as a struggling lawyer trying to make a name for himself in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and his gradual descent into the criminal underworld.

Better Call Saul offers insights and Easter eggs into the backstory of several characters from Breaking Bad, including Mike Ehrmantraut and Gustavo Fring, while also introducing new characters and storylines. The show has received critical acclaim for its writing, acting, and character development, earning numerous awards and nominations, and has been praised for its ability to stand on its own while complementing its predecessor.

Better Call Saul
Credit: Sony Pictures Television / AMC

Now, three years later, in a recent interview with the Multiple Talking Women podcast, Bob revealed an interesting, if slightly disturbing, tidbit about that fateful day.

The lead actor of Nobody experienced a collapse while filming Better Call Saul in New Mexico on July 28, 2021, prompting an urgent hospitalization. Days afterward, he characterized the episode as a “minor heart attack.” He resumed work on the show’s final season in early September 2021, with the series finale airing the subsequent year.

Odenkirk recounts the moment when his heart nearly stopped, decelerating to such an extent that he appeared to “turn grey” and ceased breathing.

Three men inside an rv, donning knit hats, with two seated in plush chairs facing the third man who sits on a lower step, all looking intently at the camera.
Credit: Netflix

Entertainment Weekly wrote, “It was his first day,” Odenkirk says in [the] interview on the Multiple Talking Women podcast as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Groundlings. “And he said, ‘Oh no.'” Fortunately, the actor was unconscious and didn’t hear the words no one wants to hear from a medical professional: that he was indeed having a heart attack.

Thankfully, Bob was able to make a full recovery.

“Weeks later, when I came back, he said, ‘I’m so sorry it was my first day. I have been a firefighter,’—he was retired—’I’ve never done CPR. I have only ever seen other people do it,’” Odenkirk said. Mark Margolis, who starred in both series, sadly passed away at the age of 83 last year.

As of now, the sixth and final season of the AMC television series Better Call Saul premiered on April 18, 2022, in the United States, and concluded on August 15, 2022, ending the Breaking Bad legacy that has officially wrapped up.

In 2023, Cranston reunited with his co-star Aaron Paul, known for his role as his meth-making protege Jesse Pinkman, for a widely circulated Super Bowl commercial. Although there’s potential for an impromptu reunion, Cranston has stated that there are no plans for a revival of Breaking Bad.

“They wanted to do a Breaking Bad 15-year reunion,” Cranston told British GQ. “And I thought, ‘In a quick five years from now, we’re going to do the 20 and then the 25, then the…’ It’s like, let’s not try to do too much.” Cranston has always been outspoken — most recently, he spoke out against Disney CEO Bob Iger during the SAG-AFTRA strike, “I know, sir, that you look at things through a different lens. We don’t expect you to understand who we are. But we ask you to hear us…”. Read more on that here. 

Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston netflix
Credit: Sony Pictures

Comic Book.com stated, “Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan confirmed the Saul series finale would be the end of the BBU — the Breaking Bad Universe — that includes the Jesse wrap-up movie El Camino. But Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios at AMC Networks, which aired the Sony Pictures TV series, said last year: “The door is always open and I long for the day my phone rings and Vince, Peter [Gould, Saul co-creator] or our friends at Sony call to say, ‘Hey, I think we have another show set in this universe.'”

Would you like to see the BBU – Breaking Bad Universe – expand? 

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