Hegyes is best known for his portrayal of Juan Luis Pedro
Philippo DeHuevos Epstein, one of the sweathogs on Welcome
Back, Kotter from 1975 to 1979 co-starring with Gabe Kaplan
and a pre-Saturday Night Fever John
Travolta. I think it’s safe to say that Epstein was the first and
remains the only Puerto Rican Jew to appear on American television.
I didn’t realize the show was briefly banned in
Boston. Then again what wasn’t banned in Boston in the
Hegyes and Kaplan had a strong on-screen chemistry especially
when Kotter was reading notes signed by Epstein’s mother or when
Hegyes played Chico to Kaplan’s Groucho. During the 1980s, Hegyes
reunited with Kaplan on stage in A Night with Groucho.
Later in the decade, Hegyes joined the cast of Cagney &
The cast of Welcome Back, Kotter reunited last year
save Ron Palillo and were interviewed
on Good Morning America. Here’s an interview Hegyes
did last year recounting his days on Welcome Back,
About the Author
Aaron Goldstein writes from Boston, Massachusetts.
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