Vachik Mangassarian, Actor in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Dead at 78

·2 min read
Vachik Mangassarian
Vachik Mangassarian

Tibrina Hobson/WireImage

Character actor Vachik Mangassarian has died. He was 78.

A rep for Mangassarian told PEOPLE that he died of COVID-19 related complications on Saturday in Burbank, California.

Born in Iran in 1943, Mangassarian emigrated to the United States at age 23, working as a waiting in Los Angeles while dreaming of a career in Hollywood. He pursed his passion for acting with gigs in theater and a few roles in movies back in Iran, before landing his big break with The South's Shark in 1978.

From there, the actor appeared in The Fall Guy, The A-Team, Sledge Hammer!, Murder, She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Falcon Crest, Jake and the Fatman and NYPD Blue, among others, per Deadline.

Vachik Mangassarian
Vachik Mangassarian

Marvel/ABC

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Later, he would play parts in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (playing Qasim Zaghlul), Curb Your Enthusiasm and NCIS: Los Angeles.

Vachik Mangassarian
Vachik Mangassarian

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Mangassarian was of Armenian descent, and kept close ties to his heritage all his life. He was praised for his 2008 performance in The Stoning of Soraya M., portraying the father of an Iranian woman sentenced to be stoned to death on false charges. He was also a key player in getting the 2012 film Lost and Found in Armenia into production. The landmark feature marked the first time in Armenian movie history that Armenian and American actors acted alongside one another, the outlet reported.

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Mangassarian also anchored his own radio and TV show, The Armenian National Network, for a decade.

Prior to his death, Mangassarian had shared Facebook posts about his opposition to COVID-19 vaccines, including memes suggesting that the pandemic was part of a grand conspiracy, according to the Daily Beast, which obtained a statement from Mangassarian's rep about the actor ultimately getting vaccinated as a requirement for film projects. "I know about his original stance, but after I had a talk with him, his desire to work became more important to him," Valerie McCaffery of McCaffery Talent Management told The Daily Beast.

He is survived by his sisters Linda and Elda, their spouses, nephews and a niece, per Deadline.