'Kissing sailor' in famous NY photograph dies at 95

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ISTANBUL
Published 18.02.2019 21:46
Updated 18.02.2019 21:54
In this July 2, 2009, photo George Mendonsa poses for a photo in Middletown, R.I., holding a copy of the famous Alfred Eisenstadt photo of Mendonsa kissing a woman in a nurse's uniform in Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945 (Providence Journal via AP)
In this July 2, 2009, photo George Mendonsa poses for a photo in Middletown, R.I., holding a copy of the famous Alfred Eisenstadt photo of Mendonsa kissing a woman in a nurse's uniform in Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945 (Providence Journal via AP)

The sailor pictured kissing a woman in Times Square as people celebrated the end of World War II has died at age 95, his daughter told the Providence Journal.

George Mendonsa had a seizure Sunday after falling at an assisted living facility in Middleton, Rhode Island, his daughter Sharon Molleur said.

In the famous image, one of four taken by Alfred Eisenstadt for Life magazine, Mendonsa is seen ecstatically bending over and kissing a woman in a white nurse's uniform.

The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt was first published in Life magazine and became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. It's called "V-J Day in Times Square," but is known to most as "The Kiss."

Mendonsa, who served in the Pacific during World War II, was on home leave when the picture was taken.

He had long claimed to be the sailor in the picture, but it wasn't confirmed until recently with the use of facial recognition technology.

Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman in the picture, died in 2016 at age 92.

Eisenstadt did not get the names of the kissing strangers.

He later described watching the sailor running along the street, and grabbing any girl in sight.

"I was running ahead of him with my Leica looking back over my shoulder but none of the pictures that were possible pleased me," he wrote in "Eisenstadt on Eisenstadt."

"Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse. If she had been dressed in a dark dress I would never have taken the picture."

Mendonsa served on a destroyer during the war and was on leave when the end of the war was announced. He has said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

Mendonsa died two days before his 96th birthday. The family has not yet made funeral arrangements.

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at the age of 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.

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