Robert Hegyes (Actor) as Juan Epstein - Welcome Back, Kotter
Robert Hegyes 1
Updated: 11/6/08

Name: Robert Hegyes

Born: May 7, 1951, Perth Amboy, New Jersey

Claim To Fame: Hegyes is best known for his portrayal of Juan Epstein in the 1970s television series Welcome Back, Kotter.

Family Life: His father, Stephen is Hungarian and his mother, Marie Dominica Cocozza is Italian. He is the oldest of four children. Mark, Stephanie, Elizabeth are his younger siblings.

He was married to Mary Kunes from 1973-1977, to Kyle Drummer from 1979 to 1984, and to Lynn O'Hare from 1987-1993. He and Lynn have two children together - Cassondra, born in 1987, and Mac, born in1991.

Since 1994, he has been dating Cynthia Wylie. He has helped raise her two children.

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Info: Hegyes has been acting ever since his high school days in the mid-1960s when he began working with Metuchen High School Theater teacher, Dr. Barton Shepard. After he graduated from Glassboro State College with a B.A. in Speech/Theater & Secondary Education, Hegyes relocated to New York City to pursue an acting career.

Shortly after, he joined a Greenwich Village children's theater group called, "Theater in a Trunk," performing educational theater at US President Teddy Roosevelt's birth place. He stayed with the group as a puppeteer with an arm and rod puppet company, playing "Mr. Toad," in, "The Wind & the Willows." During this time, he also performed in Washington Square Park and served as a member of the political improvisational guerilla troupe, "Jack LaRumpa's Flying Drum & Kazoo Band" at the Provincetown Playhouse.

Hegyes's career quickly took off with a co-starring role in the highly acclaimed Off-Broadway drama, Naomi Court, and in the Broadway drama, Don't Call Back. He was then awarded with the biggest role of his career, that of Juan Epstein on the ABC comedy, Welcome Back, Kotter. The show lasted four seasons, from 1975-'79. At the age of 25, Hegyes became one of the show's directors.

Since then, Hegyes has made guest appearances on several television shows, including Saturday Night Live, NewsRadio, Diagnosis Murder, The Drew Carey Show, and Streets of San Francisco. He has also had roles in such films as Honeymoon Hotel, Underground Aces, Bob Roberts, The Purpose, and Bar Hopping. From 1986-1988, he regularly appeared on the Emmy Award-winning drama, Cagney & Lacey, as undercover detective Manny Esposito.

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Trivia: Cousin of Jon Bon Jovi.

Only member of his family in show business.

John Travolta is Hegyes' daughter's godfather.

Grew up in Metuchen, N.J. also home of magician David Copperfield.

Where Are They Now: Hegyes taught screenplay writing, acting for camera and public speaking for awhile at his alma mater, Rowan University. He still guest lectures in the Radio/Television/Film & Theater Departments. He has also taught essay writing and public speaking at Brooks College in Long Beach, California as an adjunct instructor, and has also been employed with the LAUSD at Venice High School, in Venice, California.

Along with writer/producer Craig Titley, Hegyes is the co-creator of the groundbreaking Internet series, The Venice Walk, at, the series' exclusive website and the series' MySpace profile. Hegyes has also authored seven screenplays, most notably At the Movies and The Lost Marx Brothers Movie.

Write To Robert Hegyes:
Robert Hegyes
Talent Literary Company Productions
PO Box 1774
Venice, CA 90294


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