We’d met Franklin Graham in 2004, the last time the Graham Crusade came to Los Angeles. We were zombies after that. He was raised in a strict Catholic household. Neither Zamperini nor Lash was believed to have much chance of winning the 1936 Olympics 5,000-meter race against world record holder Lauri Lehtinen. It was reported that 40 people died from the heat in Manhattan alone that week. His parents were Anthony Zamperini and Louise Dossi were both from Verona in North Italy. Then-Capt. We were all brutalized by that. Indeed, there was the prayer on the raft where he made his promise to God and then the title at the end of the film where it spoke of him fulfilling his promise to God. But we hadn’t met Will. Antoniowas born on June 9 1889, in Verona. This included an October 1950 visit to Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, where many war criminals were imprisoned, and expressed forgiveness to them. For instance, when his life raft was being strafed by the Japanese on Day 27 of his odyssey, he dove overboard to avoid the bullets and ran into two sharks. The film focused on Zamperini's faith, to which he credited his "unbroken" status. Although, the production was very concerned that the family would be approving of what they were doing. In the very beginning when we first met with director, Angelina, I expressed the concern that they would tell the entire story and not just leave it off where they did leave it off, which was with him coming home from war. What did that mean to you as you two were forming your identities and faith? Louismarried Cynthia Zamperini (born Applewhite)in 1946, at age 28. President Franklin D. Roosevelt even sent Zamperini's parents a formal condolence note in 1944. [8] That record helped him win a scholarship to the University of Southern California. [33][34], Author Laura Hillenbrand[35] wrote a biography of Zamperini entitled Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010) and published by Random House, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Louis Zamperini was a man of accomplishment: He was an athlete. He was a leading candidate to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile run. Or Copy this URL to Share. To stop him from getting into trouble as a rebel, his older brother Pete got Zamperini involved in the school track team where Pete was already a star. The Goal of The Louis Zamperini Foundation is to help transform the lives of young people through character building instruction of the Unbroken Curriculum. [36] It was named the top nonfiction book of 2010 by Time Magazine.[37]. Cynthia Garris and Luke Zamperini were both born after World War II and best knew their father after he'd found his faith. (l to r) Merritt Patterson as Cynthia with her husband Louis Zamperini played by Samuel Hunt in the film Unbroken: Path to Redemption. It really should have been a mini-series. Louis Zamperini Family. Louis Zamperiniwas born on month day1917, at birth place, New York, to Antonio Zamperini. Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates. He wanted it to be a film that would appeal to a broad audience of people and maybe pique their interest to then look further and read his book, Unbroken, or one of the other books he wrote. What were your thoughts on having William Graham play his grandfather in the film? Zamperini and Cynthia Applewhite were married in 1946, until her death in 2001; they had two children, Cissy and Luke. Lorrie Blitch, owner of Magellan Christian Academy, was so moved after reading about his life, he was asked him to speak at their private Christian school graduation ceremony. RM: It’s really cool that the children and grandchildren of these two men, Billy Graham and Louis Zamperini, are together now and friends. Share a little bit about the relationship you had with getting the story told on-screen, how decisions were made on where to end the movie, and why a sequel is needed. Wikimedia Commons Japanese prison guard Mutsuhiro Watanabe and Louis Zamperini. When Louis was a prisoner of war, the Japanese tried to convince him to speak Axis power propaganda in return for a warm place to live and food. [9] With a sprint finish at the end, Zamperini finished in a dead-heat tie against American record-holder Don Lash[6] and qualified for the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. He went from church to church, traveling across the country, mostly for honorariums. This is Louis Zamperini's family photo before he went off to war. Of course, there was the miracle of surviving the crash, the miracle of surviving forty-seven days on a life raft, but the greatest miracle of all was coming to faith on that day of October 16, 1949. We never get used to it. And I asked her afterwards, “Angelina, why didn’t you show him hitting the sharks in the nose, pushing them away, dodging the bullets, all that stuff.” She said, “Because, even though it really happened, nobody would believe it. Zamperini enlisted in the United States Army Air Force in September 1941[15] and earned a commission as a second lieutenant. The book Unbroken was twice adapted into film. The Zamperini Family: Louis with wife Cynthia and their children Luke and Cynthia. Zamperini did not contest the 1,500 meters, but he ran the 5,000 metres. Graham's preaching reminded him of his prayers during his time on the life raft and imprisonment, and Zamperini committed his life to Christ. Family Life He 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. That was his style always. The home football, soccer, and track stadium for Torrance High School has been named Zamperini Stadium in his honor. After 33 days at sea, McNamara died; Zamperini and Phillips wrapped up his body and pushed it overboard.[19][22]. But I know that if he’s watching, looking down today, he’s overjoyed that the second film is being made because that is a huge part of his story and, in many ways, the most, Naomi Watts & Andrew Lincoln: True Story of “Penguin Bloom”, Jennifer Wayne: Granddaughter of Legendary John Wayne, Half Brothers: Luis Gerardo Méndez & Connor Del Rio, Pro Skateboarder to Pastor Jay “Albamy” Haizlip, Nicholas Hoult is J.R.R. At a recent press event in New York, Zamperini’s children, son Luke Zamperini and daughter Cynthia Garris, shared their memories of a remarkable father, one who was not only dedicated to his family but also loving in every sense of the word. During his college life at USC, he was part of the Delta Eta chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Zamperini later related several anecdotes from his Olympic experience, including gorging himself on the boat trip to Europe: "I was a Depression-era kid who had never even been to a drugstore for a sandwich in his life," he said, "and all the food was free. With the few tools they were able to salvage from the crash, the men were able to manage on two small rafts that got released. They were coming to have lunch. Obviously, we loved talking about our dad. They attempted to gain the attention of a search plane, but failed. We knew he was going to be there and we wanted to meet him. I just wanted to dispel any ideas that he was not happy with the film. Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life by Louis Zamperini, … Above is his family tree. Share what he said. Zamperini returned to the United States a hero and married Cynthia Applewhite soon thereafter. He took up running in high school and qualified for the US in the 5,000 m race for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, finishing 8th, but not without setting a new lap record. He was quite heroic around the house and out in the street. Tolkien in the new film “Tolkien.” We talked about his early years and how not many…, Playing It By Ear: The Adaptability of Billy Ray Cyrus Written by Kelli Gillespie Born in Kentucky, Billy Ray Cyrus…. ), On 27 May 1943, while on the search, mechanical difficulties caused the bomber to crash into the ocean 850 miles (1,370 km) south[18] of Oahu, killing eight of the 11 men aboard. These efforts and the curriculum will bring hope to the children, as well as equip them with Louis’ extraordinary value system from “ Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In” and “Devil at My Heels.” They were given another B-24, Green Hornet, notorious among the pilots as a defective "lemon." Louis Zamperini lived life well. 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). I was sort of addicted to it."[5]. We will continue to update information on Louis Zamperini’s parents. Zamperini and his family spoke no English when they moved to California, making him a target for bullies because of his Italian roots. RM: In this sequel, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, we see how Louis came to know Jesus and Billy Graham was a big part of that. Of course, there was some realities in filmmaking that I’m not aware of. Zamperini is the subject of three biographical films: Unbroken (2014), its sequel Unbroken: Path to Redemption (2018), and Captured by Grace (2015). . He confided to us, “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this or not, but I just read for the part of my granddaddy yesterday.” If you look at Will, he looks like the youthful version of his grandpa. He actually did a wonderful job running it for about a year-and-a-half and then last March, he asked us if we would take over and he’s going back into his chosen field. Louis Zamperini, an Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran whose story of survival became the subject of the upcoming film "Unbroken," has died. He started partnering with inner city churches and wilderness programs. Following the successful raid, his craft was attacked by three Japanese Zeros and the bomber was severely damaged. After drifting at sea on a lifeboat for 47 days, with 2 other crewmates, he landed on the Japanese occupied Marshall Islands and was captured. Family. Luke Zamperini is the son of Louis Zamperini, one of World War II's most well-known prisoners of war and hero of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He had an older brother named Pete and two younger sisters, Virginia and Sylvia. [20][21] They were strafed a number of times by a Japanese bomber, which punctured their life raft, but no one was hit. Louis’s Education details are not available at this time. [38] It covered the time up to Zamperini's return from the war. Dad didn’t want the movie to be a “Christian” film. That’s what I hope people walk away with; the astonishment of knowing that placing your faith in Jesus Christ can save your life forever for the better. If we fell and skinned our knees, he was our hero out there taking care of us. Louis Zamperini during dedication ceremony of plaza in his name at USC track stadium. On what he instilled in each of them as a father … This bilingual buddy comedy is now available so you can watch it at home! It was the recognition, nobody in school, except for a few of my buddies, knew my name before I started running. We capture the raw, transparent glimpses into the joys, struggles, triumphs, heartache and tragedy that make up the fabric of an individual’s journey. In May 2011, Zamperini was guest of honor at Magellan Christian Academy’s graduation ceremony with over 700 attendees at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. Many are familiar with the incredible life story of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini thanks to his book and the 2014 film Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie. Not only is it…, Season of Prayer Guides Filmmaker Alex Kendrick to Tell the Story Written by Kelli Gillespie Many are cautioned about the…, Sinner’s Church: Jay “Albamy” Haizlip Written by Chris Ahrens The smell of marijuana was as common to Jay Haizlip in…, Nicholas Hoult plays J.R.R. Then, as I started winning races, other kids called me by name. Luke Zamperini is the only son of Louis Zamperini. Following this, he forgave his captors, and his nightmares ceased. My dad’s story was miracle, upon miracle, upon miracle. In high school, he joined the athletics team. [He sounds exactly like his grandfather. 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. Luke: It’s interesting, I went with my dad to Germany a couple decades ago. 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. However, his final lap of 56 seconds was fast enough to catch the attention of Adolf Hitler, who insisted on a personal meeting. Zamperini competed in the 5,000-meter race in the 1936 Berlin Olympics – attracting the … "[13], After the Olympics, Zamperini enrolled as a student at the University of Southern California. [39], American middle distance runner and U.S. Army Air Forces officer, Zamperini at the May 2014 announcement of the 2015. A group of Torrance merchants raised enough money for the local hero to live on once he got there. Angelina apologized realizing it was a little premature. So, Lisa and I went up to Forest Home to meet Will a few months before production. Risen Magazine: Many are familiar with the story of Louis Zamperini from either his book or the Angelina Jolie-directed movie, Unbroken, that showcased aspects of his life. Zamperini was chased and caught by police for a stolen beer and brought home to his parents who dealt with him. He was speaking to the Department of Defense high schools and junior high schools for the kids of the GIs over there and he was telling a story and we go to the Q&A portion and a hand shoots up and asks, “How could you forgive them for what they did to you?” Well, he got to tell them all about his conversion experience. At USC, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity (Delta-Eta Chapter). But as a child, the story doesn’t have all the gruesome details in it, so it wasn’t really until we became adults that we really started thinking about what he actually went through. All Rights Reserved. Louis Zamperini was born on January 26, 1917, in Olean, New York, to Anthony Zamperini and Louise Dossi, both native to Verona in northern Italy. In 2015, the Billy Graham organization released a 30-minute documentary film, Captured by Grace. [28], In his 90s, Zamperini continued to attend USC football games, and he befriended star quarterback Matt Barkley in 2009. Share Louis's life story with friends and family. His father taught him how to box in self-defense. Absolutely. Louishad 3 siblings: Peter Zamperiniand 2 other siblings. Louis Zamperini was raised in California by Italian immigrant parents in the town of Olean, New York. Interviewed for Risen Magazine on the film set in Pomona, California. The Bird due to his being a famous Olympic runner. But even as an adult, I’ve probably read his autobiography half a dozen times, and Unbroken I’ve read three times, and the films and just all the hundreds of time we have heard him tell the story, but it still is fantastic to fathom what he went through. Zamperini died July 2, 2014 in Los Angeles at the age of 97, but his life will continue to inspire others. Dad didn’t want the movie to be a “Christian” film. Zamperini and his family spoke no English when they moved to California, making him a target for bullies because of his Italian roots. He took on the mantle of starting up the Louis Zampernini Foundation for work with at-risk youth and he brought it into the 21st century. Zamperini had at first been declared missing at sea, and then, a year and a day after his disappearance, killed in action. When Unbroken ran its course and we were contacted that a sequel was in the works, we were just overjoyed. Jolie was able to show him the film in the hospital and the 97-year-old was pleased with the film. 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. Cynthia: That was rough on us. Send an Email. [12] As Zamperini told the story, Hitler shook his hand, and said, "Ah, you're the boy with the fast finish. [7][a] The following week, he won the CIF California State Meet championships with 4ᵐ27.8ˢ. View Louis Zamperini's Family Tree and History, Ancestry and Genealogy. We continue that in that fashion. RM: Is Clay involved with the family legacy? Zamperini was held at the same camp as then-Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington, and in his book, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Boyington describes the Italian recipes Zamperini wrote to keep the prisoners’ minds off the food and conditions. This was about 67% of all the recorded Zamperini's in the USA. Luke: Genius. There’s a purpose in the way this is being told. Zamperini’s presentation was so inspirational that he received a 10-minute standing ovation. This is your life story and this is the most important part of your story.” And it’s the only time I can ever recall him getting upset with me. He was chosen to serve as Grand Marshal of the 2015, In the fall of 2015, Zamperini was named as the, This page was last edited on 27 January 2021, at 03:58. The stories are real, powerful, and oftentimes life altering because they offer hope, truth, faith, redemption and love. (PHOTOS BY WTA GROUP/UNIVERSAL 1440 13 Louis Zamperini and A Victory for Hope. He struggled with bullies and supposedly almost died twice, once due to a house fire, and another from having fallen into an oil rig and almost drowning. However, as he declined, he was forced back into the prisoner of war camp. People demonstrate the power of God in their lives and that’s what happened to my dad. Historical Person Search Search Search Results Results Louis ZAMPERINI (1918 - 1919) Try FREE for 14 days Try FREE for 14 days How do we create a person’s profile? He died of pneumonia on July 2, 2014, at his home in Los Angeles; he was 97. In 1941, he was commissioned into the United States Army Air Forces as a lieutenant. None of his family members spoke English, and his inability to speak … Being born into a non-English speaking family in the United States of America started out as a struggle for Louis Zamperini. Pete took Louis on several training runs. He went ahead to break a mile record which stood for 20 years that earned him the scholarship to the University of Southern California due to his track competence. He and his family moved to Torrance, California, in 1919, where Louis attended Torrance High School. Just reaching out and straight-arming them on the nose to keep them from biting him and going to get air, going back down. In 1936, Zamperini decided to try out for the Olympics. [29], 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.[30]. Luke: We hope it shows that it is a life-changing experience when you come to faith in Jesus Christ. He said, “Golly Lisa, what part of all things working together for good are you not understanding? © 2020 Risen Magazine. In the film, it just shows a shark coming near Louis and he kicks it with his foot. Bullets were coming through the water. We were aware our father was this fantastic hero and also, he was in our private, personal lives too. Cynthia Zamperini and Louis had two children, and were together until her death in 2001. Luke Zamperini: He actually sold the rights to his story to Universal in 1957. Whether it’s an actor, athlete, author, musician, politician, or another influencer of this generation, Risen shares an exclusive angle that won’t be read anywhere else. Rhode Island had the highest population of Zamperini families in 1920. 11: Born in New York, his family moved to Torrence, California in 1920. Angelina Jolie’s blockbuster Unbroken incited some outrage in Japan after its release in 2014. 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. They caught two albatrosses, one of which they ate, and used pieces as bait to catch fish, all while fending off constant shark attacks and nearly being capsized by a storm. When did you understand who he was and what he had faced? Angelina did guarantee me that we will get the faith and forgiveness message in there. Let’s pray, let’s pray, let’s pray.” And here we are today. The books and the films don’t quite get all the details. Please check back soon for updates. He was later taken to a new prison camp at a coal factory, and after much struggle, he was finally released. Actually, he had two of them since — pardon my French — he was a born-again Christian.. You can get the amazing details of … Having qualified at age 19 years, 178 days, Zamperini remains the youngest American 5,000 meters qualifier.[10]. In later childhood, his brother Pete was highly supportive of him and encouraged him to start his running career. Two-time Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts stars as Samantha Bloom in the film version of her story titled “Penguin…. Who is Louis Zamperini? In April 1943, Super Man participated in a bombing mission against the Japanese-held island of Nauru, with Zamperini serving as bombardier. Early Years Louis Silvie Zamperini was born to Italian immigrant parents on January 26, 1917, in the town of Olean, New York. All things work together for good. "[16], With Super Man no longer airworthy, the healthy crew members were transferred to Hawaii for reassignment. For forty-minutes he was doing a ballet with these sharks. His story was eventually turned into a film called Unbroken that was directed by Angelina Jolie and has impacted thousands. Copy. (Aircraft records show several B-24s with the name: "Green Hornet" and "The Green Hornet";[17] in this case the name was verified from Zamperini's diary before the mission. The most Zamperini families were found in Canada in 1911. Cynthia: I just love this because when Angelina did her first rough cut of the film, her father had passed away a month or two before and she [invited] us to Universal to screen it for us and it was really traumatic because we had just lost our father. Louis Silvie Zamperini (January 26, 1917 – July 2, 2014) was an American World War II veteran, an evangelical Christian, and an Olympic distance runner. Louis Zamperini FameChain Links. He was taken to two different prison camps in Japan where he was tortured and beaten by Japanese military personnel and specifically by a man named Mutsuhiro Watanabe, A.K.A. He told his remarkable story all the time. And these army chaplains were sitting there with their chins dropped because they are forbidden to speak the name of Jesus Christ in the schools and my dad is getting away with it because the kids are asking. The May 4 New York Times credited Zamperini with administering first aid to the five wounded members of his Liberator bomber crew and saving the lives of two on the return flight from the April 21 Nauru raid. Louis Silvie Zamperini (January 26, 1917 – July 2, 2014) was an American World War II veteran, an evangelical Christian and an Olympic distance runner. Risen sat down on the Unbroken: Path to Redemption set with Zamperini’s kids: Cynthia Zamperini-Garris and Luke Zamperini with his wife, Lisa, to learn more about bringing his faith legacy to the big screen. Cynthia: We were fully aware of his story from our first memories because that’s how he put food on the table for us, and clothes on our backs, and a roof over our head. But I know that if he’s watching, looking down today, he’s overjoyed that the second film is being made because that is a huge part of his story and, in many ways, the most important part to him. They’d go to a movie and they go, ‘Oh, come on.’” So, she toned a lot of things down. Clay came to us and said that he didn’t think the Victory Boys Camps should end. Louis Zamperini with his wife to be, Cynthia Applewhite, in 1946. "[11] By the end of the trip, Zamperini, in common with most athletes on the ship, had gained a good deal of weight: in Zamperini's case, 12 pounds (5 kg). 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. Louis Zamperini was born January 26, 1917 in Olean, New York, to Anthony and Louise Zamperini. So now Luke and I are running it and Luke does a wonderful job going out and telling Louis’ story to kids that are in youth correctional facilities, just like Louis did. He attended the Torrance High School. "Ground crewmen counted 500 bullet and shell fragment holes in the fuselage and tail structure of the big four-engine bomber after it had skidded to a stop with a flat tire. My eyes were like saucers. He was married to Cynthia Applewhite from 1946 to 2001. Cynthia Zamperini was the love of Louis’s life from the day they met. They were not able to tell the whole story and do this [faith] portion of it justice with the amount of time they were allotted to tell the whole story. I decided that summer to go all-out; overnight I became fanatical. 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. [19], The three survivors were Zamperini, pilot Russell Allen Phillips and Francis McNamara; with little food and no water, they subsisted on rainwater, small fish eaten raw, and birds that landed on their raft. To provide hope, instill resilience and demonstrate forgiveness while developing compassion and empath Following the war he initially struggled to overcome his ordeal, and struggled with post traumatic stress. [26] One of his recurring themes was forgiveness, and he visited many of the guards from his POW days to let them know that he had forgiven them. Zamperini features as a character in the 2012 novel Flight from Berlin by David John, published by Harper Collins. Luke: Yes, and to start our own friendship with Will; knowing the relationship between the Grahams and Zamperinis will be continuing. Five of the crew were wounded, one of whom died. Cynthia Zamperini-Garris: And I just want to add, Louis completely understood, once it was explained to him, the reasons why the film had to end. We collect and match historical records that Ancestry users have contributed to their family trees to create each person’s profile. Run faster, Zamperini still set an outstanding time shows a shark coming near Louis and kicks... Graham helped Zamperini launch a New prison camp at a coal factory, and mistreated until the end his! And what he had an older brother Pete was highly supportive of him going! Strong belief in forgiveness under review Flight from Berlin by David John, by. In March 2005, Zamperini reluctantly agreed to attend a Crusade Jesus Christ standing ovation Sugamo prison in,! 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