'It Was His First Day': Bob Odenkirk Says On-Site Medic 'Froze' During His Heart Attack on Better Call Saul Set

Bob Odenkirk is sharing how the on-site medic reacted to his near-fatal heart attack in 2021

Published Time: 16.04.2024 - 02:31:13 Modified Time: 16.04.2024 - 02:31:13

Bob Odenkirk is sharing how the on-site medic reacted to his near-fatal heart attack in 2021.

On April 12, the actor, 61, appeared on the Multiple Talking Women podcast and opened up about a surprisingly funny moment involving the health scare. Odenkirk recalled how his heart "pretty much stopped," slowing to a pace where he "turned gray and stopped breathing" while on set for Better Call Saul.

“The medic came around the corner and he froze in his tracks. It was his first day,” he quipped. "And he said, 'Oh no.' And he didn’t move.”

Odenkirk said he had no memory of the incident and a few weeks later, the medic actually apologized to him.

"Weeks later when I came back, he said, 'I’m so sorry it was my first day, I have been a firefighter,' — he was retired — 'I’ve never done CPR. I have only ever seen other people do it,'” he said with a laugh. 

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Odenkirk suffered a heart attack on July 27, 2021, while in New Mexico filming scenes for the ninth episode of Better Call Saul's sixth season, "Point and Shoot."

He told The New York Times that an on-set health safety supervisor and an assistant director on the series performed CPR and shocked him with an automated defibrillator three times to restart his heart before he was taken to a hospital. Shortly after, his rep told PEOPLE that Odenkirk was in stable condition.

"I went to play the Cubs game and ride my workout bike, and I just went down. Rhea said I started turning bluish-gray right away," he told the Times. Odenkirk learned that he had plaque buildup in his heart in 2018, but said he received conflicting medical ad -

vice on treating it. The 2021 cardiac event occurred when "one of those pieces of plaque broke up."

Since his heart attack, Odenkirk has been vocal about how the health scare changed his life. In January 2023, the actor shared how it gave him a "blank slate" when returning to work five weeks later.

"Whatever growth may come from my heart attack, I'm still in the middle of it," he explained during AMC+'s Television Critics Association presentation. "I had to finish this season of Saul, and do all these things that I'd signed up for, and I had a strange kind of blank slate quality to that experience. Literally, I couldn't remember any of it and even had a hard time making memories for weeks afterwards."

"Some people say it was like a mechanism, like a self-protective thing that your body does. But everyone has different experiences with those kinds of things," Odenkirk continued. "For me, I think it's still resonating in my life."

The Emmy Award winner said that for a long time after the heart attack he was "weirdly upbeat" and felt a sense of euphoria.

"It was a gift, I suppose, but also strange for everyone around me, who was like, 'Are you alright?' 'I'm great! Let's go to work!' 'OK, calm down.' It was like being this weird little baby bird, you know, at the age of 59," he said at the time.

Odenkirk assured that now, his current focus right now is figuring out a healthy work-life balance.

"I have to do a better job because we don't get to carry on forever. We just don't," he added. "I've got to make the right choices so I can feel like I'm doing the best I can with the time I have left for the things I love in this world."

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