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Sailor in famous photo dies at 95



George Mendonsa posed for this 2009 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, at the end of World War II. Mendonsa died Sunday, he was 95. It was years after the photo was taken that Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, were confirmed to be the couple. (Providence Journal via AP)

George Mendonsa posed for this 2009 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, at the end of World War II. Mendonsa died Sunday, he was 95. It was years after the photo was taken that Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, were confirmed to be the couple. (Providence Journal via AP)

The ecstatic sailor shown kissing a woman in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II died Sunday. George Mendonsa was 95.

Mendonsa fell and had a seizure at the assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island, where he lived with his wife of 70 years, his daughter, Sharon Molleur, told The Providence Journal.

Mendonsa was shown kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945 — known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered to the United States. People spilled into the New York City streets to celebrate the news.

Mendonsa planted a kiss on Friedman, whom he had never met.

An iconic photo of the kiss by Alfred Eisenstaedt was first published in Life magazine and is called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

It became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century.

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

In this Aug. 14, 1945 file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, a sailor and a woman kiss in New York’s Times Square, as people celebrate the end of World War II. The ecstatic sailor shown kissing a woman in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II has died. George Mendonsa was 95. This image was taken by U.S. Navy photographer Victor Jorgensen. The photo is of the same moment that photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured and first published in Life magazine. (Victor Jorgensen/U.S. Navy, File)

In this Aug. 14, 1945 file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, a sailor and a woman kiss in New York’s Times Square, as people celebrate the end of World War II. The ecstatic sailor shown kissing a woman in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II has died. George Mendonsa was 95. This image was taken by U.S. Navy photographer Victor Jorgensen. The photo is of the same moment that photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured and first published in Life magazine. (Victor Jorgensen/U.S. Navy, File)

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

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

When he was honored at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa spoke about the kiss. He said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

“I saw what those nurses did that day and now back in Times Square the war ends, a few drinks, so I grabbed the nurse,” Mendonsa said, WPRI-TV reported .

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.

“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.

She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”

Mendonsa died two days before his 96th birthday.

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-yearold 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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