Friday, January 27, 2012

RIP Robert Hegyes a.k.a Epstein

RIP Robert Hegyes/Epstein 1951-2012

While women fawned over John Travolta's Barbarino, I always thought Robert Hegyes' Epstein or Juan Luis Pedro Felipo de Huevos Epstein (if you prefer full monikers) was a bit of a looker. Along with his iconic strut, his fierce pride in being a Puerto Rican Jew, he had that fantastic head of hair and that gorgeous smile. I was a kid when Welcome Back Kotter first aired but I was indeed an Epstein fangirl. The infamous letters signed by "Epstein's mother" excusing him from scholarly pursuits were in the Corporal Klinger (of the 4077th) league of excuse notes.

Reminiscing about Epstein, certainly is a balm to the sadness caused by news of Robert Hegyes' passing yesterday. Welcome Back Kotter is one of those shows that transport me back in time: associated memories, feelings, sights, sounds explode forth.

The theme song gets me every time.

RIP Mr. Hegyes. RIP Epstein. You won't be forgotten.


  1. I was really saddened when I heard the news. He was my favorite on the show.

  2. Thanks so much for the comment Shelly. He was wonderful on the show. Apparently many of the "Welcome Back Kotter" cast members attended the TV Land awards last year. Travolta included. I missed it!

  3. I don't want award shows, so I didn't know about that one. That I would've watched.

  4. Nice piece Chelly--I was a big fan of Welcome Back Kotter when I was a kid too, and Epstein was ALWAYS my favorite--he was short (like me) but it didn't stop him from being the toughest, or the funniest.

    FYI, I don't watch award shows either, but I NEVER miss the TV Land Awards (as it's not so much an award show y'know, but a tribute to these classic shows). To be honest, I was surprised how old Robert Hegyes looked compared to the rest of 'em... he looked older than Gabe Kaplan! Anyway--he is missed.

  5. I always thought he was the coolest, too.

    Plus, he could do a gookie (or whatever that face Harpo Marx used to make was called)


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