Tags: louis zamperini | dies | unbroken | olympian

Louis Zamperini Dies: Olympian and 'Unbroken' War Hero Was 97

Image: Louis Zamperini Dies: Olympian and 'Unbroken' War Hero Was 97 Former Olympic runner and World War II veteran Louis Zamperini.

Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 10:53 AM

By Newsmax Wires

Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic runner and World War II veteran who lived for two years as a POW in a Japanese prison camp, has died. He was 97.

Universal Pictures studio spokesman Michael Moses told The Associated Press that Zamperini died Wednesday.

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Zamperini enlisted in the Army before Pearl Harbor and was a bombardier in World War II. He and his crew were searching for a downed B-24 when their plane crashed into the Pacific, killing eight of the 11 men. He then survived on a raft for 47 days before entering the Japanese prison camp.

Before joining the military, Zamperini was a runner at the University of Southern California. He ran in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, placing eighth in the mile.

His story was told in "Unbroken," Laura Hillenbrand's 2010 best-seller, and is the subject of an Angelina Jolie-directed film by the same name being released in December.

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