NEW YORK, Sept. 10 (UPI) — Greta Friedman, the woman in a nurse uniform being kissed by a sailor in Times Square in the iconic V-J Day photo marking the end of World War II, has died, her son said. She was 92.
The black-and-white photo appeared on the cover of Life magazine and came to symbolize the jubilance Americans felt after the Japanese surrendered, marking the war’s end. But for years, the subjects in the photo were a mystery.
The sailor has since been identified as George Mendonsa.
Mendonsa later admitted to CBS News it was not only the exuberance at the war ending that prompted him to grab and kiss a stranger. “The excitement of the war bein’ over, plus I had a few drinks,” Mendonsa said. “So when I saw the nurse I grabbed her, and I kissed her.”
Friedman said while everyone saw her a a nurse, the uniform she was wearing was from her job at the time as a dental assistant. She was on her break when news began to surface the Japanese had surrendered and the war was over. Times Square quickly filled with a joyous crowd to celebrate the news.
Friedman and Mendonsa did not come forward until 1980, when Life published an article asking the two people to come forward Mendonsa had never seen the photo until a friend showed it to him, saying it was him.
Likewise, Friedman did not know the moment had been captured, though she never forgot the encounter.
Several other individuals have come forward over the years claiming to be the individuals in the photo. CBS News reunited the two in 2012 and brought in author Lawrence Verria, whose book The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo That Ended World War II, who said the stories told by Mendonsa and Friedman were the most credible.
Joshua Friedman said his mother died from complications due to old age.