|Birth Day:||January 26, 1917|
|Death Date:||Jul 3, 2014 (age 97)|
|Birth Place:||Olean, United States|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Louis Zamperini died on Jul 3, 2014 (age 97).
When he enrolled at Torrance High School in California, he barely spoke English and other students teased him. He then went on to attend the University of Southern California where he set a national college record for the mile, which he ran in 4 minutes and 8 seconds.
Zamperini was born on January 26, 1917 in Olean, New York, to Anthony Zamperini and Louise Dossi, both native to Verona in northern Italy. He had an older brother named Pete and two younger sisters, Virginia and Sylvia. He was raised in a strict Catholic household. He struggled with bullies and supposedly almost died twice. Once from a house fire, and another from falling into an oil rig and almost drowning. Later in his childhood, his brother Pete was the one who encouraged him to start his running career and was proud of him.
He and his family moved to Torrance, California, in 1919, where Louis attended Torrance High School. Zamperini and his family spoke no English when they moved to California, making him a target for bullies because of his Italian roots. Zamperini was chased and caught by police for a stolen beer and brought home to his parents who dealt with him. His father taught him how to box in self-defense. Soon he claimed to be "beating the tar out of every one of them; but I was so good at it that I started relishing the idea of getting even. I was sort of addicted to it."
After a summer of running in 1932, starting with his first cross-country race, and throughout the last three years of high school, Zamperini was undefeated. He started beating his brother's records. In 1934, Zamperini set an interscholastic record for the mile, clocking in at 4 minutes, 21.2 seconds (4ᵐ21.2ˢ) at the preliminary meeting to the California state championships. The following week, he won the CIF California State Meet championships with 4ᵐ27.8ˢ. That record helped him win a scholarship to the University of Southern California. During his college life at USC, he was part of the Delta Eta chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
In 1936, Zamperini decided to try out for the Olympics. In those days, athletes had to pay their way to the Olympic trials, but since his father worked for the railroad, Louis could get a train ticket free of charge. A group of Torrance merchants raised enough money for the local hero to live on once he got there. The 1,500 metres was stacked that year, with eventual silver medalist Glenn Cunningham, Archie San Romani, and Gene Venzke all challenging to get on the team.
After the Olympics, Zamperini enrolled as a student at the University of Southern California. At USC, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity (Delta-Eta Chapter). In 1938, Zamperini set a national collegiate mile (~1609 metres) record of 4 minutes 8.3 seconds, despite severe cuts to his shins from competitors attempting to spike him during the race; this record lasted for fifteen years, earning him the nickname "Torrance Tornado."
Zamperini enlisted in the United States Army Air Force in September 1941 and earned a commission as a second lieutenant. He was posted to the Pacific island of Funafuti as a bombardier on the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber Super Man.
In April 1943, during a bombing mission against the Japanese-held island of Nauru, the bomber was badly damaged in combat. The May 4 New York Times credited him with administering first aid to five wounded members of his Liberator bomber crew and saving the lives of two on the return flight from the April 21 Nauru raid.
On 27 May 1943, while on the search, mechanical difficulties caused the bomber to crash into the ocean 850 miles (1,370 km) south of Oahu, killing eight of the 11 men aboard.
His death had mistakenly been announced previously, when the US government classified him as killed in action. President Franklin D. Roosevelt even sent Zamperini's parents a formal condolence note in 1944. It was not until the end of World War II in late 1945 that Zamperini was discovered to be still alive and freed from his captors.
On their 47th day adrift, with little food or water, Zamperini and Phillips reached the Marshall Islands and were immediately taken prisoner by the Japanese Navy. They were held in captivity, severely beaten, and mistreated until the end of the war in August 1945. Initially held at Kwajalein Atoll, after 42 days they were transferred to the Japanese prisoner-of-war camp at Ōfuna, for captives who were not registered as prisoners of war (POWs). Zamperini was later transferred to Tokyo's Ōmori POW camp, and was eventually transferred to the Naoetsu POW camp in northern Japan, where he remained until the war ended. He was tormented by prison guard Mutsuhiro "The Bird" Watanabe, who was later included in General Douglas MacArthur’s list of the forty most wanted war criminals in Japan.
Zamperini and Cynthia Applewhite were married in 1946, until her death in 2001; they had two children, Cissy and Luke.
Four days before his 81st birthday in January 1998, Zamperini ran a leg in the Olympic Torch relay for the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, not far from the POW camp where he had been held. While there, he attempted to meet with his chief and most brutal tormentor during the war, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, also known as "the Bird", who had evaded prosecution as a war criminal, but Watanabe refused to see him. However, Zamperini sent him a letter, stating that while he suffered great mistreatment from him, he forgave him. It is unknown if Watanabe even read the letter; Zamperini never received any response, and Watanabe died in 2003. In March 2005, Zamperini returned to Germany to visit the Berlin Olympic Stadium for the first time since he had competed there.
In a televised interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2003, Zamperini related that after the war, he had nightmares about strangling his former captors and began drinking heavily, trying to forget his experiences as a POW. His wife Cynthia attended one of the evangelistic crusades led by Billy Graham in Los Angeles, and became a born-again Christian. In 1949, at the encouragement of his wife and her Christian friends, Zamperini reluctantly agreed to attend a crusade. Graham's preaching reminded him of his prayers during his time on the life raft and imprisonment, and Zamperini committed his life to Christ. Following this, he forgave his captors, and his nightmares ceased.
In his 90s, Zamperini continued to attend USC football games, and he befriended star quarterback Matt Barkley in 2009.
Zamperini appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on June 7, 2012, speaking about his life in general, the 1936 Olympics, and his World War II exploits.
Zamperini features as a character in the 2012 novel Flight from Berlin by David John, published by Harper Collins.
Zamperini's real death came 70 years later, from pneumonia, on July 2, 2014, in Los Angeles, at home, aged 97.
In 2015, the Billy Graham organization released a 30-minute documentary film, Captured by Grace, which details Zamperini's faith, and to which he credited his "unbroken" status.
The book Unbroken was twice adapted into film. First, Unbroken by the Coen brothers, was directed by Angelina Jolie, and starred Jack O'Connell as Zamperini. It covered the time up to Zamperini's return from the war. Later, a sequel, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, covers Zamperini's recovery from his abuse as a POW, and was directed by Harold Cronk, and was released in September 2018, with Samuel Hunt portraying Zamperini.
Louis was born to Anthony Zamperini and Louise Dossi, a pair of Italian immigrants, and raised with a brother named Pete and two sisters named Virginia and Sylvia. Louis was married to Cynthia Applewhite from 1946 to 2001. Louis had children named Luke and Cissy.
Currently, Louis Zamperini is 105 years, 8 months and 11 days old. Louis Zamperini will celebrate 106th birthday on a Thursday 26th of January 2023. Below we countdown to Louis Zamperini upcoming birthday.