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Sailor in iconic World War II kissing photo has died

Posted: 8:01 AM, Feb 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-18 09:57:31-05
A sailor kisses a nurse in New York at the celebration of the Japanese surrender, Photo Date: 8/14/1945

George Mendonsa, the sailor caught on camera kissing a nurse in Times Square at the end of World War II, has died, just two days shy of his 96th birthday.

The picture, taken in Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945, shows Greta Zimmer Friedman getting a smoldering smooch from a sailor on V-J Day as the streets filled with people celebrating the Japanese surrender. Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped a photo of them locking lips, and published it in the magazine a few weeks later with the simple caption “V-J Day” and no identification of the people in it.

The sailor’s identity remained a mystery until more recently, when George Mendonsa of Rhode Island went so far as to sue Life after the Naval War College used 3-D face scanning technology to conclude he was the one who had grabbed Friedman.

Mendonsa died Sunday in an assisted living facility in Middletown, his daughter told The Providence Journal.

Friedman died in September 2016.