Robert Hegyes was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, to an Hungarian-American father, Stephen, and an Italian-American mother, Marie Dominica (Cocozza). He is the eldest of their children. The others are: Mark Hegyes, MD – Billings, Montana, Ms. Stephanie Hegyes – Princeton, New Jersey, and Ms. Elizabeth Cocozza – Los Angeles, California.
Robert began studying acting in earnest at Metuchen High School under the direction of Dr. Barton Shepard, Ph.D, in the mid-1960s. He was accepted into the Theater Program at Rown University of New Jersey (formerly Glassboro State College) and, in the early 1970s, graduated with a BA in Theater & Secondary Education. Hegyes then ventured into New York City to practice his trade, immediately taking up with the “Greenwich Village Children’s Repertory Companies”, “Theater in a Trunk”, and “The NYC Children’s Puppet Ensemble”. In short order Robert hooked up with his third Greenwhich Village troupe, “Jack LaRumpa’s Flying Drum & Kazoo Band”, performing improvisational anti-war comedy in Washington Square and the Provincetown Playhouse.
Within a year of graduating from Rowan, Hegyes was cast to co-star in the Manhattan Theater Club Emsmble’s highly-acclaimed drama, “Naomi Court”, which starred another young actor, Brad Davis (of Midnight Express (1978)). After completing that successful engagement Robert was tapped to co-star for Tony Award-winning actor/director Len Cariou, A Little Night Music (1977) & Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982), in the Broadway drama, “Don’t Call Back”, starring Arlene Francis at the Helen Hayes Theater. It was during the run of that Broadway drama that he was cast by producer James Komack to star in the award-winning comedy series, Welcome Back, Kotter (1975) and, at the age of twenty-five, became one of the show’s directors.
Robert has guest-starred in over thirty episodic series, including Saturday Night Live (1975) with host Quentin Tarantino, Diagnosis Murder (1993) with Dick Van Dyke and The Drew Carey Show (1995). He has starred in the award-nominated “Passat” commercial, “The Chase”, for director Kinka Usher and in the feature films, Honeymoon Hotel (2004) opposite Jane Kaczmarek, Underground Aces (1981) with Melanie Griffith, Bob Roberts (1992) for director Tim Robbins, Purpose (2002) starring Mia Farrow, and Bar Hopping (2000) alongside Kevin Nealon.
Hegyes made his Los Angeles stage debut to rave notices as Chico Marx in Arthur Marx’s play, “An Evening with Groucho”, and was shortly thereafter cast as a series regular starring in the award-winning drama, Cagney & Lacey (1981). Robert has been awarded a lifetime artist-in-residence status at his alma mater and has taught there and continues to guest lecture regularly. He is also a California Certified Secondary Education Teacher and teaches for the Los Angeles Unified School District at Venice High School.
As a long-time resident of Venice, California, Robert and partner Craig Titley, (Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)) developed the original Internet series, “The Venice Walk”.
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