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Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk Opens Up About The Wild Day On Set When He Had A Near-Fatal Heart Attack

Bob Odenkirk is Saul Goodman on Better Call Saul.
(Image credit: AMC)

Longtime comedy genius Bob Odenkirk is getting ready to wrap up what turned out to be a career role as Saul Goodman (aka Jimmy McGill, aka Gene Takavic) when the sixth season of Better Call Saul premieres on AMC on April 18. There are a lot of unknowns about some of the characters’ tragic fates in the Breaking Bad prequel’s final season, but any on-screen death wouldn’t be nearly as tragic as what almost befell the series when Odenkirk collapsed on set in July 2021 after a sudden heart attack. The 59-year-old actor, who has wrapped filming for the series, recently spoke about that day, revealing the scary events that transpired and how his co-stars saved his life. 

Bob Odenkirk recently spoke on the Sunday Sitdown podcast, where he recalled that the quick actions of co-stars Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian helped to save his life in the immediate aftermath of the heart attack. The former Mr. Show star said his “widow-maker” was completely blocked, which is a major deal, considering the nickname derives from how fatal such blockage can be. Odenkirk said right after he collapsed, Seehorn and Fabian raised the alarm, which alerted health officers Angie Meyer and Rosa Estrada of the emergency. CPR was started, and a defibrillator was used, Odenkirk later learned:

They came out and did CPR properly right away, broke my ribs like you’re supposed to and carried on until the ambulance arrived. And also, Rosa had an AED device, which is a defibrillator, in her car. So because she had that, she was able to go get it and it took only three tries.

That sounds very serious and very painful, but absolutely worth it to save a life. Bob Odenkirk likely has the quick actions of the Better Call Saul cast and crew to thank for still being alive, but what a frightening thing for them to have witnessed, as well. The actor said his heart incident was “traumatizing” for those who were on set, and for those who went to the hospital to support him after. 

The actions of his esteemed colleagues that day, as well as the outpouring of love from fans on social media, helped to change Bob Odenkirk’s perspective on life, he said.

(Social media) is a cesspool. But occasionally it’s not. Occasionally it’s a place that people share their best selves. And that’s what people did with me. And I didn’t know about it ’til about a week or two later when people showed me the outpouring of love that came my way that I don’t deserve. But I appreciate very much. And for the rest of my life will be thinking about and trying to be worthy of.

Bob Odenkirk even mentioned another beloved comedian as inspiration going forward: the late Bob Saget. Famous for his hugs, the Full House dad died of a head trauma in January, and his friends and family have shared a number of stories about his love for life and how he never missed an opportunity to tell those close to him that he loved them. Odenkirk strives to be more like Saget:

I only met him one time and he really was a genuinely sweet guy who cared about other people. And you could have a brief conversation with him and feel very connected very quickly. I would like to try to be a little more like him as I move forward.

I’m truly happy — first and foremost — that Bob Odenkirk seems to have recovered from the heart attack he suffered last year, and I hope for continued health for the actor. Since he was eventually able to return to set to finish filming Better Call Saul, I’m not ashamed to say that I also can’t wait to see what’s coming up on the new season, as well as everything he's got lined up after Saul is done.

Season 6 will be divided into two parts, the first of which premieres Sunday, April 18. The last batch of episodes will begin July 11 on AMC. In the meantime, check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see when new and returning shows are premiering.   

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.