Extremely popular Indian screen actor who appeared in more than 200 Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam films. He won six Filmfare Awards, not including the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received in 2002.
His father was an artist, writer and musician. Vishnuvardhan, born Sampath Kumar, grew up as one of seven children.
His tremendous popularity earned him an almost godlike status among his fans: when he died of cardiac arrest in his late fifties, several fans committed suicide, and there were protests in the streets that required tear gas intervention by police.
He married Bharathi Vishnuvardhan, a star actress of the Kannada film industry. The couple had two children: Keerthi and Chandana.
He worked with fellow Indian film star, Akshay Kumar, on the 1993 film, Ashaant.