Actor and comedian Michael Batayeh dead at age 52 following 'sudden' heart attack

June 11, 2023
Ben Marquis

A popular actor and stand-up comedian, Michael Batayeh, died unexpectedly from a heart attack at age 52, according to his family, Breitbart reported.

He was perhaps best known for his limited but recurring role in three episodes of the hit TV series "Breaking Bad," in which he portrayed the manager of an industrial laundromat that served as cover for an underground drug lab used by the show's main characters to illicitly manufacture methamphetamine.

Dead from a "sudden" heart attack

TMZ first reported on Friday that Batayeh's family had revealed in a statement that he had died in his sleep at his Michigan home more than a week earlier on June 1.

His death was reported to be "sudden" from a heart attack, though according to his sister Diane, he had no known history of any heart issues.

"He will be greatly missed by those who loved him and his great ability to bring laughter and joy to so many," Batayeh's family said in a statement to the outlet.

Request for donations to an organization supporting youth sports in Detroit

According to Batayeh's obituary, visitation at the funeral home will be on Friday, June 16, followed by a funeral service on Saturday, June 17, at the Risen Christ Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Michigan.

It noted that he was preceded in death by his parents, Abraham and Victoria, as well as sister Jeannie, and is survived by five sisters -- Ida, Diane, MaryAnn, Madeline, and Theresa -- as well as 11 nieces and nephews and 7 great nieces and nephews.

The obituary suggested that memorial contributions could be made to The Clark Park Coalition Fund, where such donations would go toward "supporting and providing recreation to the Southwest Detroit youth. Mike was always passionate about helping youth in the community where he lived and grew up facing similar challenges."

Detroit native centered comedy around his Middle Eastern heritage

The Detroit Free Press reported that it received a statement from Batayeh's family through his sister Ida that said, "It is with a 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."

Batayeh, 52, who lived in Ypsilanti, was born and raised in Southwest Detroit as part of a large Jordanian-American family but moved to Los Angeles, California in his early 20s to pursue a career as an actor, screenwriter, and stand-up comedian, with his Middle Eastern heritage often being a focal point of his comedy, particularly while touring internationally and performing with other Arab-American comedians.

"He was very well known in the Arab-American community," his family said in the statement. "Mike was part of the first wave of Western comics to perform for local audiences in the Middle East in such places as Dubai, where he filmed a comedy special for Showtime Arabia," as well as other nations like Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.

"Mike never lost touch with his roots in Detroit, and he gave back to the community in countless ways," the family added. "He was a kind, sensitive, intelligent, and gifted soul. This is such a devastating loss of a huge life and Mike will be missed."

Appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies

Batayeh's IMDb page shows that he is credited with 38 actor appearances between 1998-2018, the majority of which were single episodes in various TV series aside from his recurring role in "Breaking Bad" in 2011-2012 and another in three episodes in "Sleeper Cell" in 2005-2006.

Other notable appearances included shows like "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Boy Meets World," "JAG," "The Shield," "The Bernie Mac Show," "CSI: Miami," and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," among others.

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