Category Archives: marx bros

Robert Hegyes 1951-2012

Actor, director and teacher Robert Hegyes passed away this morning in Metuchen New Jersey from a heart attack. He was 60 years old.

He was perhaps best known as Juan Epstein, one of the Sweathogs on “Welcome Back, Kotter,” one of the superstar sitcoms of the 1970s. He was the tough guy, the Puerto Rican Jew, the guy who always had a note from his mother. Later he was a regular on “Cagney and Lacey,” and appeared in a myriad of television and film projects in the time since.

A graduate of Glassboro College here in South Jersey, now called Rowan, he became an artist-in-residence. He also frequented the stage, at one point to much acclaim as Chico Marx in “An Evening with Groucho.” His directing career began when he was 25 on the set of “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Also of note for the Jersey born performer was his family, Jon Bon Jovi was his cousin. He will be missed.

Dear Mr. Kotter,

Please excuse little Juan from class today. He’s dead.

Signed, Epstein’s Mother

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The Story of Mankind

The Story of Mankind ~ I had heard about this film for the first time on the Steve Friedman Mr. Movie radio show, but had never had a chance to see it until recently on TCM.

It is the story of two angels, Ronald Colman and Sir Cedric Hardwicke, arguing over the fate of mankind. A sort of history of the world with a star-studded cast, The Story of Mankind is also known for being the last Marx Brothers film (although they appear separately), and also Colman’s final film appearance. It was also produced, directed and screenwriter by the master of disaster films, Irwin Allen.

Vincent Price is delightful as The Devil, and as narrator, but that us just the beginning of the odd and sometimes inspired casting of stars as historical figures. Peter Lorre as Nero is fun, but Hedy Lamarr is painful as Joan of Arc, and the Marx Brothers should never have shown up to this party.

The Story of Mankind is a fairly fun flick even with all its flaws. Worth seeing once, and definitely a good choice for kids if you want to sneak some education into their entertainment. Check it out.

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