Michael Bataye, an actor known for his brief role on the Emmy-winning series Breaking Bad and a popular comedian in the Arab-American community, died at his home in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He is 52 years old.
His sister, Ida Burgolo, said she died in her sleep on June 1 of a heart attack. Later, her coroner discovered he had a heart problem, she said.
Bataye starred in “Breaking Bad” as Dennis Markowski, the down-to-earth laundromat manager who was the star of the meth lab. This person was killed after expressing an interest in speaking to the DEA in exchange for immunity.
As a comedian, Bataye has performed nationally and internationally, as well as major clubs in New York City and Los Angeles.
He has also been credited in several popular TV series such as ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, ‘The Barney Mac Show’ and ‘Boy Meets World’.
Burgolo said Bataye’s role as a taxi driver in 1998’s “Everybody Loves Raymond” made his family aware of Bataye’s emergence as an entertainer. “That’s when his father saw his last name on TV for the first time.” She said, “My father was very proud of him and told him about it.”
Michael Anthony Batayer was born in Detroit on December 27, 1970, the seventh child of Ford factory workers Abraham and Victoria (Dababne).
The couple immigrated to the United States from Jordan in 1955. Michael Batayer attended Wayne State University for three years before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles to pursue his art career and start his own comedy troupe with his friends.
“He was actually trained to be a performer from a very early age,” said Vergolo. Her brother began playing the tabla (a pair of hand drums) at the age of five, and she recalled continuing into adulthood.
“My dad used to drag him up on stage at weddings,” she said.
Bataye is survived by sisters Ida Burgolo, Diane Bataye Ricketts, Mary Ann Joseph, Madeline Sherman and Teresa Aquino. His eldest sister, Jeanie Batayer, died of cancer in 2016.
Bataye often used his family as a comedy fodder. “He used to tease us,” said Ms. Vergolo.
and affinity accent He has made him popular in the Arab-American community, said Mr. Vergolo, who said he was “very right on point.”
The sisters said they were invited by the Jordanian royal family to perform at a comedy festival in Jordan’s capital, Amman. He also appeared in Showtime Arabia’s comedy feature.
The family is seeking a memorial donation to an organization that provides recreational and mentoring programs for youth in southwestern Detroit.
“He let us know how important it was and how good it felt when he went home and talked to the kids and the leaders who were starting out.” Burgolo said.
“He cared about the community and wanted to give back. He was just that kind of person,” she says.