Sailor in Iconic Times Square Kiss Photo Dies at 95

The celebratory sailor seen kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II died on Sunday. George Mendonsa was 95-years-old. The iconic photo shows the young sailor kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945. The pair had never met before Mendonsa planted the kiss, and Friedman later said it was not romantic. On the day the photo was taken people had spilled into New York City's streets to celebrate the Japan's surrender, known as V-J Day. The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt was first published in Life magazine and became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. It is officially called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

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