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Louis Zamperini

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Louis Zamperini
Zamperini in c. 1943
Louis Silvie Zamperini

(1917-01-26)January 26, 1917
DiedJuly 2, 2014(2014-07-02) (aged 97)
Other namesLouie Zamperini
Years active1930s–2014
Cynthia Applewhite
(m. 1946; died 2001)

Louis Silvie Zamperini (January 26, 1917 – July 2, 2014) was an American World War II prisoner of war survivor, motivational speaker and track and field athlete.


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Zamperini was a long-distance runner at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Nazi Germany. During World War II, Zamperini was a soldier on a bomber airplane in the Pacific War. After the plane crashed, he and his crew survived 47 days in a lifeboat in shark infested water before being captured by the Japanese army.[1] After the war, he became a motivational speaker.[2]

Zamperini in May 2014

In 2010, Laura Hillenbrand published Zamperini's biography Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, which became a bestseller. In 2014, actress Angelina Jolie directed the movie Unbroken, based on the biography. The movie was released on December 25, 2014.[1]

In May 2014, he was chosen to be the 2015 Rose Parade grand marshal.[3]

Personal life

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Zamperini was born in Olean, New York, to Italian immigrant parents. He and his family moved to Torrance, California, at a young age. He did not speak English until school and was bullied because of this. He was married to Cynthia Applewhite from 1946 until her death in 2001. They had two children, Luke and Cynthia.[4]

Zamperini died from pneumonia on July 2, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. He was 97.[5]


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  1. 1.0 1.1 "Louis Zamperini, war hero, Olympian and inspiration for Angelina Jolie, dies at 97". The Sydney Morning Herald. July 4, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  2. Rocha, Veronica (May 9, 2014). "Olympian-turned-war-hero Louis Zamperini is Rose Parade grand marshal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  3. Wells, Jason (July 3, 2014). "Louis Zamperini, war hero chosen to lead 2015 Rose Parade, dies at 97". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  4. "Olympian Louis Zamperini dies at 97". ESPN. July 3, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  5. Emery, Debbie (July 3, 2014). "WWII Hero, 'Unbroken' Subject Louis Zamperini Dies at 97". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 4, 2014.

Other websites

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