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'Rambo' producer Andy Vajna dies

Andrew G. Vajna, born in the Hungarian capital on 1 August 1944, died after a long illness, a Fund statement said.

Andy Vajna. Picture: facebook.com

BUDAPEST - US-Hungarian film producer Andy Vajna, who backed blockbusters such as Rambo, Die Hard, and Terminator, has died at his home in Budapest, the Hungarian National Film Fund said Sunday.

Andrew G. Vajna, born in the Hungarian capital on 1 August 1944, died after a long illness, a Fund statement said. He was 74.

Vajna's family fled Hungary after a national insurrection was crushed by Soviet troops in 1956.

He lived in Hong Kong and Canada before arriving in the United States, where he thrived in the film industry, founding the production company Carolco with partner Mario Kassar.

The firm turned out a series of big-budget successes that also included Basic Instinct, Total Recall and Angel Heart.

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.

Vajna owned the pro-government broadcaster TV2, and was named state film commissioner in 2011.

Dubbed "Mister Cinema", the magnate boosted Budapest's reputation as a film capital, notably by co-financing the state-of-the-art Korda Studios on a former communist military base.

As head of the Hungarian National Film Fund, he co-financed Son of Saul, which won the Grand Prize at the Cannes film festival in 2015, and the Oscar for best foreign film a year later.

In addition to TV2, the cornerstone of a larger media group, Vajna also owned several casinos.

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