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Robert Hegyes, played Epstein on 'Kotter,' dies

Robert Hegyes, who is best known for portraying Jewish Puerto Rican student Juan Epstein on the '70s sitcom 'Welcome Back, Kotter' died on Thursday, January 26, 2012. The actor died at age 60 of an apparent heart attack in his New Jersey home. (Pictured: Robert Hegyes appears in a 1976 promotional photo for 'Welcome Back Kotter.'.)

January 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Robert Hegyes, one of the stars from the popular 1970s sitcom "Welcome Back Kotter," has died. He was 60.

Hegyes was taken to the hospital from his New Jersey home in full cardiac arrest on Thursday.

Doctors pronounced him dead shortly after his arrival.

His claim to fame was playing wise-cracking Jewish Puerto Rican high schooler Juan Epstein alongside John Travolta.

The TV series followed a teacher who returns to the inner-city New York school of his youth to teach a group of irreverent remedial students nicknamed the "Sweathogs."

The show's theme song, performed by John Sebastian, became a pop hit.

Hegyes also appeared on many other TV series, including "Cagney & Lacey."

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.