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10 of the world's most famous whales

Keiko the orca

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Keiko (aka 'Willy')

"Free Willy" was a 1993 movie about an unconventional friendship between a young boy and a captive orca that's forced to perform at a water park. In the movie, the title role was played by Keiko the orca (pictured), who really was captured from the wild as a young whale and brought to live at an aquarium in Iceland.

The movie's success created a wave of support for releasing Keiko back into the wild, and although that did eventually happen, it didn't produce a happy ending. Keiko died in 2003 at the age of 27, after coming down with pneumonia following his release.