Los Angeles, Nov 15 (PTI) Branko Lustig, producer of Hollywood classics such as 'Schindler's List' and 'Gladiator', has passed away. He was 87.
The news of his demise was shared on the official website of Festival of Tolerance, where Lustig served as president since 2008. He passed away at his residence in Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday.
Born in Osijek, Yugoslavia to a Jewish family in 1932, Lustig had spent two years as a prisoner at Auschwitz and BergenBelsen concentration camps during World War II.
Most of his family members disappeared in concentration camps across Europe, including his grandmother who was killed in a gas chamber and his father who was killed in Cakovec.
It was this devastating experience that encouraged Lustig to co-produce Steven Spielberg's 1994 feature 'Schindler's List'. He won his first Oscar when the film bagged the Best Picture trophy at the 66th Academy Awards.
Before 'Schindler's List', Lustig had worked on films and shows such as 'Fiddler on the Roof', 'The Tin Drum' and 'Sophie’s Choice'.
In the year 1999, he collaborated with filmmaker Ridley Scott for historical drama 'Gladiator', which earned him his second Oscar trophy.
The director and the producer went on to work on films such as 'Black Hawk Down' (2001), 'Kingdom of Heaven' (2005), 'A Good Year' (2006) and 'American Gangster' (2007).
On Twitter, 'Gladiator' star Russell Crowe mourned Lustig's demise.
'Just read the news. Branko Lustig has passed. What an amazing life he led. From the horrors of WWII to the glory of two Academy Awards. He said to me once, 'You disagree with me a lot, but you’re always my friend on the days I need you.' Yes. Much love Branko. Always your friend,' the actor wrote. PTI RB SHDSHD