Robert Hegyes made fans smile, and his death was shocking when they got the news. He was more than a legendary actor from “Welcome Back Kotter,” who played a Jewish Puerto Rican student on the television show, and will forever be one of the original “Sweathogs.”
Unfortunately, Robert Hegyes, died this week at the age of 60 from apparent heart attack.
The Flynn & Son Funeral Home in Fords, NJ was informed of the actor’s death on Thursday by his family.
Hegyes had been transported to the JFK Medical Center in Edison, NJ that morning in full cardiac arrest and died, the Star-Ledger reports.
Hegyes got his big break on Kotter, a 1970s TV series about a teacher who returned to an inner-city New York school he went to as a child to teach students often referred to as “Sweathogs.” The cast included John Travolta, who played Vinnie Barbarino.
Hegyes later appeared in other TV shows, including Cagney & Lacey. He also had stints on CHiPs, Diagnosis Murder, The Drew Carey Show and Lewis & Clark.
Born in 1951 in the town of Perth Amboy, Hegyes grew up the oldest child of a Hungarian father and Italian mother in Metuchen, NJ. He headed to New York City following graduation at Rowan University, where he would often return to teach master classes.