Vachik Mangassarian, an actor with dozens of film credits including "NCIS: Los Angeles," "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," has died at 78.
Mangassarian's manager Valerie McCaffrey confirmed on Tuesday to USA Today that he died Saturday of COVID-19 complications. Mangassarian had shared several memes that appeared to oppose COVID vaccines and downplay the pandemic but his manager insisted that the actor had been vaccinated.
Born in Iran of Armenian descent in 1943, Mangassarian arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1960s, where he worked in theater before landing his breakthrough Hollywood role in 1978's "The South's Shark," according to Fox News.
This launched his decades-long career. By the mid-'80s he had appeared in various popular series including "The A-Team," and "Murder, She Wrote" and his career was going strong. Over the next few years Mangassarian would land dozens of other roles and make guest-starring appearances in shows including "Murphy Brown," "Falcon Crest," "Jake and the Fatman," "NYPD Blue" and "JAG."
In 2008 Mangassarian was cast in a key role that marked a defining moment in his acting career. His performance in Cyrus Nowrasteh's "The Stoning of Soraya M." contributed toward the film winning an NAACP Image Award as well as prizes at the Los Angeles and Ghent film festivals. The film was also nominated for the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, Fox News noted.
While he did not perform in any other award-winning shows, Mangassarian remained a fixture on television with additional guest-starring roles in Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "NCIS: Los Angeles."
Furthermore, the actor also anchored his own television show, "The Armenian National Network," which saw guests discuss politics, film and art, according to Variety. He was also instrumental in helping to bring the feature film "Lost and Found in Armenia," in which he also appeared, to the U.S.
Mangassarian is survived by two sisters, Linda Lalaian of Glendale and Elda Hacopian of Maryland and their spouses; nephews Derek Hacopian and Ara Hacopian and niece Aida Hacopian.
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