Robert Hegyes Dead At Age 60

Robert Hegyes, the Jersey-born actor who played Jewish Puerto Rican wheeler-dealer Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein on the 1970s classic WELCOME BACK KOTTER, died from an apparent heart attack after suffering chest pains at his Metuchen home this morning. He was 60.

Following KOTTER, Hegyes appeared on CAGNEY & LACEY, then continued to act on television, mostly in guest-starring roles including NEWSRADIO, DIAGNOSIS MURDER and THE DREW CAREY SHOW. He made occasional films, including Bob Roberts with Tim Robbins.

In 1985 he played one of the Vipers (Pete's gang) on DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

A longtime resident of Venice, California, he brought the city to the internet in the web series THE VENICE WALK.

Hegyes also taught at Brooks College of Long Beach and wrote screenplays. Peter Loewy, who runs the Forum Theatre Arts Center in Metuchen, says he planned to work with Hegyes on a one-man show a year or so ago, but Hegyes' health problems -- he needed a hip replacement, among other things -- put it on hold indefinitely. "He was a gentle guy," Loewy remembers. "He had, ironically, a big heart."

Below is a photo from the WELCOME BACK KOTTER reunion at the TV Land Awards in March 2011.

12 comments:

  1. Sad, he was great on the show way back in the 70s.

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  2. He looked older than 60.

    Yes indeed, he was a great actor.

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  3. He had a lot of health problems, poor man.

    RIP, Bobby!

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  4. I guess he didn't have a note from his mother for this(lol) thought I would add a little humor to this very sad situation. Welcome Back Kotter was a great show and I know he will be sadly missed

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  5. I went to College, at then, Glassboro State in Glassboro, NJ.with Bob. I was there from 1972-75, when I graduated. I was in the Theatre Dept also. I was a little older, since I took a couple yrs off to be a hippy-Woodstock participant and war protestor. I was not one of the better actors in the department and felt kind of like an outsider. One day while working on a set, Bob walked by and said,"Hey Larry." I didn't even know he knew who I was. It's funny how a small thing can be so important to someone. He was a good guy. It may sound mundane but it's not. He was a person who cared about others and was kind. I liked that guy, though I haven't seen him since college, I never forgot. As I type, the tears are flowing and I'm glad to have had this oppurtunity to say this. I send my thoughts to his family. Finally, I'll just say. "Thanks, Bob."

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  6. Robert was a great friend...teacher...actor...a great person to work with...i worked with Robert on "LA LAw"...was good times...funny times...& hard work...you will be deeply missed my friend...R.I.P...........Thomas Durocher

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  7. robert hegyes was a great actor and i will always have him close in my heart, it is a sad moment to know that he is gone, he will be missed.

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  8. I absolutely loved Welcome Back Kotter when I was a youngster in high school during the 70's. "Juan Epstein" was such a character and my sister and I adored him. You could kind of sense he was a warm, kind person as folks have said. My condolences to his family and friends. God bless Robert Hegyes, Rest in Paradise my friend.

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  9. I JUST WANT TO SAY HE WILL BE MISSED IN THE HEARTS OF MANY AND FOR THOSE WHO HAD THE CHANGE TO MEET AND/OR WORK WITH HIM HOW LUCKY YOU ARE,FOR THE REST OF US WHO SAW HIM ON TV THANK GOD FOR RERUNS AND DVD'S ROBERT YOU WILL BE MISSED MY FREIND,

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  10. RIP, loved him ever since Welcome Back Kotter

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  11. "To that same old place laughed about!"

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  12. Dr. Mr Kotter:

    Please excuse Juan Epstein from this difficult and sometimes troublesome human life. He has been accepted into the grace of Heaven and won't be returning.

    Signed,

    Epstein's Mother


    PS: Up your nose, with a rubber hose!

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