Kovacs amassed a sterling body of work during the late 1960s and early 1970s that included Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, That Cold Day In The Park, Paper Moon, and Shampoo. His later credits included Ghostbusters, My Best Friend's Wedding, Miss Congeniality, and Two Weeks Notice.
Kovacs was studying at the Academy Of Drama And Film in Budapest when the uprising against the communist regime erupted in October 1956. He and his friend Vilmos Zsigmond, who also went on to find fame in Hollywood, risked their lives when they secretly recorded the bloody saga with a camera taken from their college that they hid inside a shopping bag.
They escaped to Austria with more than 30,000 ft of footage and entered the US in 1957 as political refugees. Their film was used several years later in a CBS documentary about the fall of the Iron Curtain narrated by Walter Cronkite.
After living for several years in New York, Kovacs took a bus to Los Angeles in 1959 and found work making short films and industrial films. He graduated to features after he got his big break making low budget biker films for Richard Rush. He shot Targets for Peter Bogdanovich in 1968 and kickstarted his career.
Kovacs was an active member of the American Society Of Cinematographers and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
He is survived by his wife Audrey and daughters Julianna and Nadia, and granddaughter Mia.