Vishnuvardhan (born Sampath Kumar 18 September 1950 – 30 December 2009), was an Indian film actor known for his works predominantly in Kannada cinema. He appeared in over 220 films in Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. He was called ‘The Phoenix of Indian Cinema’. He made his debut in the 1972 film, Vamsha Vriksha, in a supporting role. The same year he played the lead role in Puttanna Kanagal’s Naagarahaavu, and was recognized as the Angry young man of Kannada cinema.He has played a variety of roles in different genres.
In 2008, A poll conducted by CNN-IBN listed Vishnuvardhan as the most popular star in the Kannada Film Industry. A road stretching 14.5 km from Banashankari Temple to Kengeri in Bengaluru has been named after the superstar. It is the longest road in Asia to be named after a celebrity. He was a martial artist, In an interview with The Hindu, he had said that it was the era of Bruce Lee and it was only Kamal Haasan and himself who had learnt martial arts in his generation. He was also the story writer of the 1997 movie Ganesha I Love You directed by Phani Ramachandra.