This Jan. 21, 2014 photo provided by USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Louis Zamperini displays one of his photographs as a student and sprinter, at his Los Angeles home. Zamperini, a U.S. Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps, died Wednesday, July 2, 2014, according to Universal Pictures studio spokesman Michael Moses. He was 97. (AP Photo/Matt Meindl/USC D
Olean Native, War Hero, Olympian Zamperini Dies at 97
LOS ANGELES (AP/WBEN) - An Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps, has died. Louis Zamperini was 97.
Universal Pictures studio spokesman Michael Moses says Zamperini died Wednesday.
Zamperini was born in Olean. He 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.
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.