‘Kissing sailor’ in iconic New York picture dies age 95

‘Kissing sailor’ in iconic New York picture dies age 95

Lawrence Verria, the author of The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo That Ended World War II with George Galdorisi, said after researching the photo and others who laid claim to be in the picture, he found Mendonsa's and Friedman's stories most credible.

George Mendonsa, the ecstatic sailor shown kissing a woman in Times Square celebrating the end of World War has died. He died two days before his 96th birthday.

Mendonsa's daughter, Sharon Molleur, told the Providence Journal her 95-year-old father had fallen and had a seizure before he was pronounced dead.

At the time of his death, Mendonsa was residing in an assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island with his wife of 70 years.

In the iconic photograph taken on August 14, 1945, also known as V-J Day - the day Japan surrendered - Mendonsa was captured kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman.

Formally known as "V-J Day in Times Square" and more commonly called "The Kiss", the image was published two weeks later in Life magazine, and ranks alongside Gustav Klimt's gold-leaf painting "The Kiss" and Auguste Rodin's marble sculpture of the same name as one of the most famous depictions of a kiss in history.

George Mendonsa was never able to convince Life magazine that he was the man in the iconic 20th-century photograph, known as The Kiss.

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When the photo was published, there was no caption identifying the pair, but it immediately became one of the most memorable photos of the era.

The young woman, Ms Friedman, was not prepared for the kiss and later admitted that she didn't even see Mendonsa coming.

When he was honored at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa shared details about the kiss, according to WPRI-TV.

George Anthony Mendonsa was born in Newport on February 19, 1923, and raised on a nearby island without water or electricity. He said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

Mr Mendonsa served on a destroyer during the war and was on leave when the end of the war was announced.

Ms Friedman, who had been working as a dental assistant, said she had not been aware of the photo until the 1960s.

"The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed", she told the Library of Congress at the time. She said she didn't mind that he locked lips with another woman amid the celebration. "But it wasn't a romantic event".

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