Born: Cece, Hungary
Last Residence: Beverly Hills, Ca
Number of children: 2
Education: Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest between 1952 and 1956
Active role in the revolution: YES
Together with Vilmos Zsigmond, a fellow student and lifelong friend, Kovács secretly filmed the day-to-day development of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 on black and white 35mm film, using an Arriflex camera borrowed from their school. In November that year, they smuggled the 30,000 feet (9,100 m) of film into Austria
In United States of America
Arrival: 1957, NY
Education: Kovács decided to settle in the United States, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1963. He worked at several manual labor jobs, including making maple syrup and printing microfilm documents in an insurance office, before making several “no-budget” and “low-budget” films with Vilmos Zsigmond, including The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies
Workplace: Hollywood, California
Works: the 1969 film Easy Rider, starring and directed by Dennis Hopper. Kovács was reluctant to work on this film at first, having already worked on a number of B movie biker films, such as Hells Angels on Wheels. Hopper ultimately convinced Kovács that this film would be different and Kovács signed on as the film’s director of photography. He earned 2nd place for the Best Cinematographer Golden Laurel at the 1970 Laurel Awards.
In 1995 he was a member of the jury at the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.
Kovács was honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards from Camerimage (1998), WorldFest (1999), and the American Society of Cinematographers (2002). The Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASC is the organization’s highest honor. In addition, Kovács received an Excellence in Cinematography Award from the 1999 Hawaii International Film Festival and a Hollywood Film Award at the 2001 Hollywood Film Festival.