Robert Hegyes, the actor who played Juan Epstein on one of my favorite comedies of all times, ‘Welcome Back Kotter” has died. Hegyes, who played Puerto Rican wheeler-dealer Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein and one of the “SweatHogs” on the 1970s classic “Welcome Back Kotter,” back in the day when comedies could be un-PC and were actually funny, dies at the age of 60 of an apparent heart attack.
Obit from USA Today:
THe was born in Perth Amboy and grew up in Metuchen, the eldest child of a Hungarian father and Italian mother.
He attended Rowan University, formerly Glassboro State College, in southern New Jersey, before heading to New York City after graduation. He returned to Rowan on several occasions to teach master classes in acting, a university spokesman said Thursday.
“He was a good friend to the university,” spokesman Joe Cardona said.
Hegyes continued to act after Kotter and was a regular on Cagney & Lacey. He also guest-starred in shows including Diagnosis Murder and The Drew Carey Show.
In honor of the debates, we have included the Youtube VIDEO of the Sweathogs debate. Welcome Back Kotter, and its cast John Travolta, Ron Palillo, Gabe Kaplan, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs and Robert Hegyes were brilliant in a time when comedy was comedy and there was no such thing as “reality TV” on TV.
Goodbye Robert Hegyes, Rest in Peace … signed, Epstein’s Mother’s doctor.