Hearing about the passing of actor Robert Hegyes has me remembering all the nights he made me laugh on "Welcome Back Kotter."  The New Jersey actor died of an apparent heart attack at age 60.  Remember how he'd have crazy excuses for not finishing his homework?  And how he'd forge notes that would be signed "Epstein's Mother"? 

Though ALL the characters on "Kotter" were hilarious, I can't really imagine what the show would have been like withOUT Juan Epstein.  So I guess we should thank the casting directors of the world, who bring these people into our lives (through the magic of television) and make them feel like friends.  Who are some of your favorite sit-com characters...folks who were an important part (or at least a really funny part) of the show?  Please share your comments below.    Here are some of my faves:  The Fonz from "Happy Days," Kramer from "Seinfeld," Barney on "How I Met Your Mother,"  Karen and Jack from "Will and Grace," and "Alice" from "The Brady Bunch."