'Welcome Back Kotter' Star Robert Hegyes Dies at 60
Robert Hegyes, who played Juan Epstein on '70s sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter, died Thursday, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports. Hegyes, who died of an apparent heart attack after suffering chest pains at his Metuchen, New Jersey home, was 60.
Though Hegyes also starred on the detective series "Cagney & Lacey" (as Det. Manny Esposito) and, in later years, guest-starred on shows such as "NewsRadio" and "Diagnosis Murder," Hegyes was best-known for his role as Juan Epstein -- full name: Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein -- on the 1970s sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter" from 1975 to 1979. Perpetually scheming and always ready with a self-written note signed "Epstein's Mother" to explain his school absences, Epstein stood out among a group of characters that included the super-cocky womanizer Vinnie Barabarino (played by a young John Travolta) and hip but beleaguered high-school teacher Gabe Kotter (played by Gabe Kaplan).
Well Juan, you won't need a note this time...