Kannada Matinee Idol Rajkumar no more
Bangalore, Apr 12: Renowned Kannada film actor Rajkumar died of cardic arrest at a private hospital here this afternoon.
He was 77 and survived by wife, parvathamma, a film producer and three sons, all actors, besides a daughter.
Dr Rajkumar was admitted to the M S Ramaiah hospital this afternoon after he complained of breathing problem. His end came at around 1330 hours Hospital sources said.
Mutturaju Singanalluru Puttaswamayya (real name) was born on April 24, 1929 in Gajanur in Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. He was an acting legend of the STate.. Known as ''Annavru'' to millions of his fans Rajkumar was also dubbed as John Wayne of South Indian cinema. He has acted in more than 220 movies in a career spanning over 45 years.
Some of his popular films included Bangaaradha Manushya (The Golden Man), Kasturi Nivasa, Gandhadha Gudi (The Temple of Sandalwood) and Jeevana Chaitra. He is also a a renowned singer.
A soft spoken giant of the celluloid, Rajkumar had been a voracious promoter of Kannada language and had participated in the Gokak agitation on implementation of Kannada in 1982 and later joined the agitation for telecast of kannada news in doordarshan.
Encashing on his popularity, notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan had kidnapped him from his farm house in Gajanur and kept him in captivity for 109 days At the age 71 Rajkumar had to undergo a severe ordeal in the thick of the jungles from July 30 to November 15,2000. He was released unharmed by the forest brigand who was later slain by the joint special task force of Tamil Nadu and karnataka. Veerappan was demanding the release of Tamil activists who were being held in jail under a defunct anti-terrorism law.