Who is Cynthia Applewhite (Cynthia Zamperini)

Cynthia Applewhite is the wife of Louis Zamperini, the world renowned inspirational speaker about forgiveness. Zamperini’s life story was subjected to one of Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling books, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. In 2014 his life story was made to a movie directed by Angelina Jolie called Unbroken, followed by a sequel in 2015.

Being a violent person and suffering from depression, Cynthia Applewhite showed the pathway to Louis to rediscover himself with the help of preacher Billy Graham.

When was Cynthia Applewhite Born?

January 20th, 1926, Clayton, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA

How did Cynthia Applewhite Meet Louis Zamperini?

One day in Miami Beach, while having a drink in leisurely, Louis saw Cynthia first. He immediately decided that she was going to be my soul mate. He soon expressed his love towards her, and within two weeks, they got engaged.

Cynthia Applewhite
Cynthia Applewhite with her husband Louis; Source :Billy Graham Library

Cynthia Applewhite and Louis Zamperini Marriage

Cynthia and Zamperini got married on May 25th, 1946, 

Their wedding ceremony was taken in a rush, much to the displeasure of Cynthia’s family. That it was during their wedding night that Cynthia informed her family about their marriage.

Initially, life was normal for Louis and Cynthia, but his trauma as a prisoner of war kept haunting Louis throughout. After leaving the army, he was just 30 years old with no job. He was living in one of his close friends mother’s home. Later Louis was involved in several business ventures which helped him raise some money, which helped him to rent a small apartment in Los Angeles.

Louis used to get constant nightmares due to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which led him taking illegal substances. In spring 1948, Cynthia got pregnant with their first baby Cissy. Louis was delighted but it also made him more depressed, wanting to be a much better person.

One night, Louis strangled pregnant Cynthia, thinking that it was Mutsuhiro Watanabe, aka bird (the Japanese prison camp commander). Things got worse when one day Cynthia found out that Louis was violently shaking their daughter. She had enough and wanted to go for a divorce.

Louis life was a turnaround primarily thanks to Cynthia sticking around. After attending a sermon by a relatively unknown preacher at that time called Billy Graham, she convinces Louis to see Billy, the preacher. If she hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have heard the great story of forgiveness and compassion, and Louie might not have been a world-famous character. Billy Graham’s teaching made him realize his mistakes and gave him the ability to forgive those who had mistreated him during the second world war. 

Did Cynthia Applewhite Zamperini & Louis Zamperini have any kids?

Yes, they did. They had two children Luke Zamperini & Cissy Zamperini 

How old was Cynthia Applewhite when she died?

75 years (1926–2001)

When Did Cynthia Applewhite Die?

February 21st, 2001, Los Angeles County, California, USA

After Louis Zamperini died on July 2nd, 2014, Both Louis and Cynthia are buried next to each other at the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California. 

How did Cynthia Applewhite Die?

Heart Failure

Who Played the Role of Cynthia Applewhite in the Movie “Unbroken: Path to Redemption”

Merritt Patterson



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