Welcome Back Kotter actor Robert Hegyes dies of suspected heart attack

Welcome Back
Kotter actor Robert Hegyes dies of suspected heart attack

Robert Hegyes
, actor known for playing a Jewish student of Puerto Rico Juan Epstein in 1970 the TV show "Welcome Back Kotter," has died. He was 60.

Flynn and Son Funeral Home in Fords, New Jersey, said he was informed of the death Thursday Hegyes' family actor.

Press Secretary of JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey, told the Star-Ledger newspaper that Hegyes, of Metuchen, arrived at the hospital Thursday morning in full cardiac arrest and death.

Hegyes performed on Broadway in 1975, when he auditioned for Cotter, a series about a teacher who returns to downtown New York school of his youth to teach a group of students irreverent corrective nicknamed "Sweathogs". Among them, Vinnie Barbarino character, played by John Travolta.

Theme show song performed by John Sebastian, became a pop hit.

Hegyes also appeared on many other shows, including Cagney and Lacey.

He was born in Perth Amboy and grew up in Metuchen, eldest child of Hungarian father and Italian mother.

He attended Rowan University, Glassboro in the past State College, in southern New Jersey, before heading to New York after graduation. He returned to Rowan on several occasions to teach master classes in acting, a spokesman for the university said Thursday.

"He was a good friend of the university," Representative Joe Cardona said.

Hegyes continued to operate after Kotter and Cagney regularly and Lacey. He has also guest-starred on the show, including the murder of Diagnosis and The Drew Carey Show.

On his website, Hegyes wrote that he was inspired by Chico Marx, whom he played in the touring production of Marx Brothers show He also recalled how his mother encouraged him to participate in the theater as a teenager.

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