Hegyes is best known for playing Juan Epstein on “Welcome Back, Kotter,” the 1970s sitcom, which starred John Travolta and Gabe Kaplan. He appeared in all four seasons of the sitcom and joined most of his fellow Sweathogs at the “Welcome Back Kotter” reunion held at the 2011 TV Land Awards. After “Kotter,” Hegyes went on to co-star in “Cagney and Lacey” as Detective Manny Esposito. His other TV work includes an episode of “The Love Boat,” “NewsRadio” and “CHiPS.” (From imdb.com)
I remember watching Welcome Back, Kotter when I was a kid. I loved the theme song of the show too (by John B. Sebastian.) I thought the show was pretty funny. I always wanted to be a “Sweathog” along with Freddie ‘Boom Boom’ Washington (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo) and Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta). And I thought Gabe Kotter (Gabe Kaplan) would be a great teacher to have. I did like when Epstein would say, “Hey, Mr. Kotter, I got a note!” Who hasn’t tried that line before?
Plus they had some of the greatest lines:
- “Up your nose with a rubber hose!”
- “What?” “Where?” “Why?”
- “Hi there” when Washington would say it.
- “I’m so confused.”
Then they started showing reruns of the show in the 90’s and they were still funny. In 2011 the cast of Welcome Back, Kotter was honored with a TV Land Award for their 35th Anniversary. It was nice to see the gang back together again.
So sad that stars from our youth are passing away.
One of the best posts that I read today regarding Robert Hegyes’ death was by imdb.com
Rest in peace, Robert… Signed, Epstein’s Mother.
Looks like there is another cycle of three famous people to die.