Louis Zamperini was born in Olean, New York, on Jan. 26, 1917. He died on July 2, 2014, at the age of 97 due to pneumonia.
Zamperini's life became the inspiration for a biography written about him titled, "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption," following his time as a World War II prisoner of war. This biography became the subject matter for the 2014 feature film, "Unbroken" directed by Angelina Jolie.
Zamperini competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, but failed to medal. He trained to compete in the 1940 Tokyo Olmpyics, but these game were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. He joined the war, and following a plane crash, he was taken prisoner by the Japanese.