/Mike Batayeh, ‘Breaking Bad’ Actor, Dead At 52

Mike Batayeh, ‘Breaking Bad’ Actor, Dead At 52

Mike Batayeh, a stand-up comic and actor known for “Breaking Bad,” has died. He was 52.

Batayeh was best known for his role as Dennis Markowski, the unsuspecting manager of a laundromat front in the fourth and fifth seasons of “Breaking Bad.” He also starred in “The Shield,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “CSI: Miami.”

“It is with a very heavy heart that we announce the sudden passing of our dear brother, Michael (Mike) Batayeh, who passed away unexpectedly of a massive heart attack at his home,” his family told the Detroit Free Press in a statement Saturday.

Batayeh reportedly died in his sleep on June 1 of a heart attack in his Michigan home. His sister, Diane, told TMZ it was unexpected — as he didn’t have a history of heart problems. His primary passion was stand-up, which buoyed him throughout his career.

“He just performed with me two weeks ago,” Amer Zahr, a comedian of Palestinian descent and Michigan attorney who toured with Batayeh, told the Press. “He was vibrant and energetic…He was someone who was known and respected in our community.”

Batayeh was obsessed with stand-up at an early age. He told the Chaldean Cultural Center in 2022 he was inspired by the likes of George Carlin and Richard Pryor but didn’t think making movies or being on TV was a “possible” career path when he was young.

Batayeh was inspired at an early age by the likes of George Carlin and Richard Pryor.
Batayeh was inspired at an early age by the likes of George Carlin and Richard Pryor.

Michael S. Schwartz via Getty Images

“When I got older, in college at Wayne State, I never really — I loved movies and all that, I toyed with it — but I just didn’t think it was a possibility,” he told the outlet. “Then I met somebody in college who, she moved to L.A., and then I ended up moving out there to join.”

Batayeh, who appeared in three “Breaking Bad” episodes from 2011 to 2012, went on to land roles in iconic shows like “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Boy Meets World” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” He even recorded dialogue for Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

The actor will most be remembered by his family, however, for being “passionate about helping youth in the community where he lived and grew up facing similar challenges,” according to an obituary obtained by People.

“There isn’t a person that I introduced you to or a waitress that took our order whom you didn’t make laugh, think, inspire and root for,” wrote director Rola Nashef. “You wanted to see us all win…Your sense of humor and your talent…was genius, outrageous and fearless.”

Batayeh, who privately worked as a community organizer, is survived by his siblings, Ida, Diane, MarryAnn, Madeline and Theresa, and numerous nieces and nephews. His family said any donations they receive would serve as proceeds for the Southwest Detroit youth.

“He will be greatly missed by those who loved him and his great ability to bring laughter and joy to so many,” his family told TMZ.

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