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Henri Charriere
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    (November 16, 1906-July 29, 1973)
    Born in Ardeche, France
    Convicted of murdering a pimp and sent to the penal colony on Devil’s Island in French Guiana (1931)
    Escaped from Devil’s Island (1941)
    Settled in Venezuela and Spain
    Wrote the autobiography ‘Papillon’ (1969)
    He was nicknamed ‘Papillon’ after a tattoo of a butterfly on his chest.
    He was sentenced to eight years in solitary confinement for murdering a fellow prisoner who had informed the authorities about one of his escape plans.
    Many of the events in his autobiography may have actually happened to other prisoners or been invented.
    One French minister attributed the ‘moral decline’ of the country to the miniskirt and the publication of ‘Papillon.’
    He enlisted in the French navy at age 17.
    On Devil’s Island, he allegedly risked his life to rescue a drowning girl named Lissette from shark-infested waters.
    He was portrayed by Steve McQueen in the movie ‘Papillon.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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