Vajna, the Hungarian movie producer behind "Rambo", "Evita" and other worldwide hits, died in his Budapest home on Sunday following a long illness, the Hungarian National Film Fund said. 20, 2019 the Hollywood producer, who was a prominent figure of the Hungarian and global film industry, died at the age of 74 after a long illness in his Budapest home. "He had a huge heart, and he was one of the most generous guys around".
With around 40 productions under his belt, Vajna returned to Hungary early this century and became a close ally of conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Hungarian films have won several top prizes at recent global festivals. In 2016, "Son of Saul", financed mostly by Hungary's National Film Fund, won the Oscar for best foreign language film.
"We are bidding farewell to the greatest Hungarian film producer", Orban posted on his Facebook page. "Thank You for everything, my Friend!" He also owned Radio 1, a radio station popular across the country. In 1956, aged 12, he fled Hungary on his own and emigrated to Canada with help of the Red Cross, and later reunited with his parents in Los Angeles. Later he set up his own photo studio before establishing his own wig manufacturing company and operating cinemas in Hong Kong.
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With partner Mario Kassar, Vajna founded the indie powerhouse Carolco, which produced blockbusters including "Terminator 2: Judgment Day", the first three "Rambo" films and "Basic Instinct".
As part of Orban's efforts to expand his influence over the domestic media, Vajna also acquired one of Hungary's main commercial television channels and had stakes in the commercial radio market.
Late a year ago, Vajna was among a handful of businesspeople close to Orban who donated most of their media holdings to a nonprofit foundation overseen by an Orban ally, a move which put over 470 publications under even closer political control.