'Welcome Back Kotter' Star Robert Hegyes Dies
The man best known for playing Jewish Puerto Rican student Juan Epstein on the 1970s TV show Welcome Back Kotter has died, according to TIME. Robert Hegyes, 60, passed Thursday after arriving at JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J., in full cardiac arrest. He was a native of Metuchen, N.J.
Hegyes got his start on Broadway in 1975 and then auditioned for Kotter, a TV show about a teacher in inner-city New York tasked with teaching the “Sweathogs," a group of remedial students — one of whom was played by John Travolta. He also appeared on various other TV shows, including Cagney & Lacey and a guest appearance on NewsRadio.
The eldest child of a Hungarian father and Italian mother, Hegyes attended Rowan University, formerly Glassboro State College, in southern New Jersey, to which he returned many times to teach master classes in acting. (His own version of Welcome Back, you might say.) “He was a good friend to the university,” college spokesman Joe Cardona said.
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