Category Archives: teaching

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

Bookmark and Share

Remembering L.A. Banks

Author Leslie Esdaile Banks passed away yesterday morning after a relatively short battle with cancer. She also wrote under the names L.A. Banks, which I knew her by, as well as Leslie Esdaile, and Leslie E. Banks.

Banks wrote prolifically, with various projects and genres to her name(s), including horror, crime thrillers and romance among others. She wrote the Vampire Huntress and Crimson Moon series, two “Soul Food” books based on the TV series, and the Laura Caldwell books, among others.

Back in the day, L.A. Banks was also the first professional author I interviewed as host of the Fear of Writing Chatroom, later The Writer’s Chatroom. She was very sweet and understanding of newbness in doing the whole chat interview thing, and was a wonderful guest. She even came back a couple times, hopefully when I was better at it.

Banks was a wonderful teacher and always took time to help writers, new and experienced, both in those interviews and outside them. When I finally met her years after those interviews, she remembered me, which meant a lot. She taught me a lot, every time I saw her or saw her talk, I learned more about the craft. We have lost not only a terrific writer, but a wonderful woman and teacher as well. She’ll be missed.

Leslie’s friend and fellow author Jonathan Maberry announced in various writers groups yesterday the following event: “Leslie was a great writer, a brilliant speaker and teacher, a tireless supporter of literacy, and a dear friend. Her friends and colleagues in the Liars Club will host Leslie’s Big Hug Writers Bash to raise money to help Leslie’s daughter. (Saturday, August 6th, beginning at 7 p.m. and going on till closing at Smokey Joe’s Bar located at 208 S. 40th Street in University City on the University of Pennsylvania campus.). Silent Auction items include manuscript critiques; ebook and print-on-demand manuscript design services; tickets and a backstage tour for Jersey Boys on Broadway; full scholarships to writer’s conferences; and signed books by New York Times bestselling authors such as Charlain Harris, Heather Graham and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Tickets are available at the door and via eventbrite.”

Bookmark and Share