Contact Us

Farewell, Epstein — ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ Actor Robert Hegyes Dead at 60


Someone get Mr. Kotter a box of tissues. Robert Hegyes, who played Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein — better known as simply Epstein — on the 1970s sitcom ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ died from an apparent heart attack on Thursday at the age of 60.

The Jersey-born actor also co-starred on ‘Cagney and Lacey,’ but he was best known for his work alongside a young John Travolta as one of the tough remedial students known at the Sweathogs on ‘Kotter.’

On his website, Hegyes wrote that he pulled inspiration for the overly-confident, womanizing Epstein from Chico Marx, whom he once played in a national touring production of ‘A Night With Groucho.’ He was a big fan of the Marx Brothers, saying “they were all juvenile delinquents; I could definitely relate.”

In addition to his work on ‘Kotter’ and ‘Cagney and Lacey,’ Hegyes also made occasional appearances on shows like ‘NewsRadio,’ ‘Diagnosis Murder’ and ‘The Drew Carey Show,’ and he taught acting classes at several colleges.

Hegyes leaves behind three siblings, two children and two step-children. (No word on whether “Epstein’s mother” has heard the sad news.)

If you’re in New Jersey and want to pay your respects, visitation will be at Flynn & Son Funeral Home at 23 Ford Ave., Fords, on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. In tribute, check out the ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ theme song and an awesome Sweathogs’ performance of the song ‘Jeepers Creepers’ below.

Subscribe to KLAW-FM on


Best of KLAW 101

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for KLUB KLAW quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive KLUB KLAW contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.