'El Mariachi' Actor Peter Marquardt Dies at 50

Peter Marquardt - H - 2014
Everett Collection

He got the part of the drug lord Moco in the 1992 film due to a chance meeting with writer-director Robert Rodriguez when they were bunkmates at a medical research facility.

Peter Marquardt, who played the white-suited drug lord Moco in Robert Rodriguez's 1992 classic El Mariachi and its first sequel, has died, a funeral home in Austin confirmed Sunday. He was 50.

Marquardt died July 19, a spokeswoman at the Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home and Memorial Park said. No cause of death was immediately available.

In addition to showing up in flashback in Desperado (1995), the middle film in Rodriguez's stylishly violent "Mexico Trilogy," Marquardt appeared in the writer-director's 2003 film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003) and in the 2011 film The Shadow People.

Rodriguez famously launched his career in Hollywood when he made the Spanish-language El Mariachi for $7,200. He was signed by ICM, and Columbia Pictures snapped up the U.S. distribution rights to the film and signed him to a deal.

To cobble together the funds to make El Mariachi, Rodriguez checked himself into a research facility as a test subject for cholesterol-lowering medication. He made $3,000, and it was there that he met Marquardt, who was in the next bunk. Marquardt got the role of the gangster in the film despite the fact he didn't speak Spanish.

Marquardt more recently worked in the computer game industry.

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