Sunday, January 29, 2012

Epstein from Welcome Back, Kotter Played by Robert Heyges

Robert Heyges was born May 7, 1951 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.  He is most famous for playing Epstein in the TV show Welcome Back, Kotter.  He also played the role of Detective Manny Esposito in the television show Cagney & Lacy.

Robert Heyges played Epstein in the TV show Welcome Back, Kotter

Robert got his acting start in a 1975 landing the role of Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein in the television comedy Welcome Back, Kotter.  He co-starred with Gabe Kaplan (Gabe Kotter), Marcia Strassman (Julie Kotter), Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack), John Sylvester White (Mr. Michael Woodman), Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Freddie 'Boom Boom' Washington), and John Travolta (Vinnie Barbarino). 
Robert played the role of Espstein until the show ended in 1979.

Robert Heyges as Epstein in the TV show Welcome Back, Kotter

During Welcome Back, Kotter, Heyges appeared in episode of The Streets of San Francisco co-starring Karl Malden and Michael Douglas.  He would go on to star in his first TV movie, Law and Order co-starring Darren McGavin, Keir Dullea, Suzanne Pleshette, Teri Garr, Robert Reed, and James Olson (1976); Mr. T and Tina co-starring Pat Morita, Susan Blanchard, Pat Suzuki,
Ted Lange, Jerry Fujikawa, and Miriam Byrd-Nethery (1976); and The Love Boat starring Gavin MacLeod, Lauren Tewes, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Jill Whelan, and Ted Lange (1977).

The cast of Welcome Back, Kotter - Front: John Travolta (Vinnie Barbarino), Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Freddie 'Boom Boom' Washington) Middle: Marcia Strassman (Julie Kotter), Gabe Kaplan (Gabe Kotter) Rear: Robert Heyges ( Epstein ), John Sylvester White (Mr. Michael Woodman), and Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack)

Heyges starred in his first film, Just Tell Me You Love Me co-starring Lisa Hartman, Anne Lockhart, Debralee Scott, June Lockhart, Chris Lemmon, Ricci Martin, Robert Costanzo, and Lizabeth Lockhart (1978).  Also in 1978, Heyges appeared in an episode of Chico and the Man starring Jack Albertson, Scatman Crothers and Freddie Prinze.

Robert Heyges in the film Just Tell Me You Love Me 1978

After Welcome Back, Kotter, Heyges went on to star in A Cry For Love co-starring Susan Blakely, Herb Edelman, Powers Boothe, Edie Adams, Charles Siebert, Gene Barry, and Patricia Barry (1980); Underground Aces co-starring Dirk Benedict, Melanie Griffith, Audrey Landers, Rick Podell, Randy Brooks, and Frank Gorshin (1981).

In 1981, Robert appeared in the television series Lewis & Clark starring Gabe Kaplan, Guich Koock, Amy Linker, Ilene Graff, David Hollander,  and Clifton James.  He also starred in the movie For Lovers Only co-starring Kathleen Garrett, Andy Griffith, Jane Kaczmarek, Sally Kellerman, Gordon Jump, Katerine Helmond, Deborah Raffin, Gary Sandy, and Tracy Pollan (1982); and CHiPs starring Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Brodie Greer, Robert Pine, Randi Oakes, and Brianne Leary (1983).

In 1986, Heyges landed the role of Detective Manny Esposito in the television show Cagney & Lacy.  He co-starred with Tyne Daly (Det. Mary Beth Lacey), Sharon Gless (Christine Cagney), Carl Lumbly (Mark Petrie), Al Waxman (Lt. Bert Samuels), John Karlen (Harvey Lacey), Martin Kove (Victor Isbecki), and Harvey Atkin (Sgt. Ronald Coleman ). 
Robert played the role of Manny until the show ended in 1988.

Robert Heges (right) and the cast of Cagney & Lacy

After Cagney & Lacy, Heyges went on to appear in Kill Crazy co-starring David Heavener, Rachelle Carson, Gary Owens, Steve DeVorkin, Bruce Glover, Danielle Brisebois, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Burt Ward, and James Emery (1990); Bob Roberts co-starring Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Rebecca Jenkins, Alan Rickman, Ray Wise, and Harry Lennix (1992);  Cagney & Lacey: The Return co-starring Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless, Susan Anspach, James Naughton, David Paymer, Martin Kove, John Karlen, Carl Lumbly, and Vonetta McGee (1994); Mr. Rhodes starring Jessica Stone, Farrah Forke, Ron Glass, Tom Rhodes, and Stephen Tobolowsky (1997); L.A. Heat starring Wolf Larson, Steven Williams, and Renee Tenison (1997); NewsRadio co-starring Dave Foley, Maura Tierney, Stephen Root, Vicki Lewis, Joe Rogan, and Andy Dick (1998); The Pandora Project co-starring Daniel Baldwin, Erika Eleniak, Jeff Yagher, Richard Tyson, and Mimi Cozzens (1998); and Diagnosis Murder starring Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke, Victoria Rowell, and Charlie Schlatter (1998).

Robert Hegres starred as Detective Manny Esposito in the TV show Cagney & Lacy

In the new millenium, Heyges appeared in Bar Hopping co-starring Tom Arnold, Linda Favila,
Scott Baio, Nicole Sullivan, Anson Downes, John Henson, and Romy Windsor (2000); Black Scorpion co-starring Michelle Lintel, Scott Valentine, Steven Kravitz, BT, Enya Flack, Shane Powers, Guy Boyd, Robert Pine, and David Groh (2001); Purpose co-starring Ismael 'East' Carlo, Mia Farrow, John Light, Chris Howell, Elena Evangelo, Ben Bray, Megan Dodds, and Paul Reiser (2002).

Robert Hegres circa 2000

Robert Heyges made his last acting appearance in the 2002 film Hip, Edgy, Sexy, Cool co-starring Alex Alexander, Robert Amico, Chip Chinery, Evan Arnold, Ryan Bollman, Clifton Collins Jr., T.L. Brooke, Holly Fields, Bodhi Elfman, and Margaret Easley.

Robert Hegres in 2009
Robert Hegres (right) and some of the cast of Welcome Back, Kotter at the 2011 TV Land Awards

Robert Heyges died of a heart attack on January 26, 2012 at the age of 60.  His legacy as Epstein will live on forever.

Robert Heyges in 2011

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