Robert Hegyes, Welcome Back Kotter's Juan Epstein
After Kotter, Hegyes worked widely in television, and at one point was a regular on Cagney & Lacey.
Robert Hegyes, an actor best known for the role of Juan Epstein, one of the troublemaking students known as the Sweathogs in the popular 1970s comedy series Welcome Back, Kotter, died Janaury 26, 2012, at JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey. He was 60.
According to news reports, the cause was cardiac arrest.
Born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Hegyes grew up in nearby Metuchen. He he was performing on Broadway when he scored an audition for Kotter, about a teacher who returns to the Brooklyn school he attended years before hoping to positively influence the lives of the aimless students.
The show starred comedian Gabriel Kaplan as teacher Gabe Kotter, and Hegyes, John Travolta, Larence Hilton-Jacobs and Ron Palillo as the main Sweathogs.
Hegyes also directed episodes of Kotter, which aired from 1975 to 1979.
In the years after it ended, Hegyes continued to work steadily, and at one point was a regular on the cop drama Cagney & Lacey.
His other TV credits included Chico and the Man, The Love Boat, CHiPS, Diagnosis Murder, NewsRadio and more.
He also appeared in such feature films as Bob Roberts, Honeymoon Hotel and The Pandora Project.
More recently, Hegyes was featured in an award-winning commercial for Volkswagen Passat automobiles.