Robert Hegyes, TV's Sweathog Juan Epstein, dead at 60

robert-hegyes-abc.jpgRobert Hegyes, who played Sweathog Juan Epstein in the 1970s comedy " Welcome Back, Kotter" died Thursday (Jan. 26) of an apparent heart attack.  He was 60 years old.

Born in New Jersey to a Hungarian father and an Italian mother, Hegyes studied acting at Glassboro State College. Within a year of graduating he was performing on an Off-Broadway play "Namoi Court" and then Hegyes booked the Broadway play "Don't Call Back." Not long after, he booked his most famous role, that of Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein on "Kotter." He would star in the Emmy-nominated comedy for 92 episodes, working alongside John Travolta and Gabe Kaplan. The series was canceled in 1979.

In the years following, Hegyes appeared in nearly 40 episodes of the 1980s cop drama " Cagney & Lacey." He also had guest spots on " NewsRadio" and " Diagnosis Murder."

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Hegyes suffered the heart attack at his home in Metuchen, N.J. He was pronounced dead at JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J.

Hegyes is survived by three siblings, two children and two step-children.
Photo/Video credit: ABC
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