Andy Vajna was a celebrated Hungarian-American film producer with a vast portfolio. He helped create several Rambo movies starring Sylvester Stallone, as well as the hit film, Total Recall, with Arnold Schwarzenegger. His work was diverse, including the 1996 drama featuring Madonna, Evita. He passed away Sunday at the age of 74 in his Budapest home surrounded by loved ones, according to Fox News. His family members said he had been struggling with an illness for a long time.
Today Vajna is being remembered by fans and past co-workers alike. Schwarzenegger shared his condolences to the producer’s family on social media. Not only did he recognize him for his talent and work ethic, but also for his loving personality.
“[He was] a dear friend and a revolutionary force in Hollywood. He proved that you don’t need studios to make huge movies,” Schwarzenegger wrote on Twitter. “He had a huge heart, and he was one of the most generous guys around. I’ll miss him.”
Vajna was also known for his ownership of TV2 Group, a Hungarian company that sponsors two television channels and works closely with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s political agenda. Orban did not forget all that Vajna did for him throughout his career. On his Facebook page, Orban thanked the producer for his steadfast generosity and loyalty.
“We are bidding farewell to the greatest Hungarian film producer. Hasta la vista, Andy! Thank you for everything, my friend,” he wrote.
Vajna’s work earned him highly-coveted awards in the film industry. His talents were recognized in the Hungarian edition of Forbes Magazine, which noted him as the 18th most wealthy Hungarian. His net worth is estimated at a whopping $240 million. He also owned Radio Station 1, a station that is popular throughout Hungary.
Despite his immense wealth and success later in life, Vajna’s life was not without struggle. He was only 12-years-old when he was forced to flee his home nation in the wake of the communist regime takeover. The International Red Cross assisted him in his escape from Hungary and brought him to Canada. He spent several years there before finally being reunited with his family is Los Angeles.
Sylvester Stallone was deeply saddened by the loss of Vajna, who inspired him throughout his career and contributed to his Rambo success.
“A very very sad day… Producer ANDY VAJNYA, the man that Made Rambo happened, died today… LOVED this man’s courage – a pioneer. Believed In making FIRST BLOOD when no one else did.…This truly breaks my heart. Rip,” he wrote on Instagram.