Woman in iconic WWII kissing photo dies at 92

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, a sailor and a nurse kiss passionately in Manhattan's Times Square, as New York City celebrates the end of World War II, on August 14, 1945.

NEW YORK (AP) — The woman who was kissed by an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II has died at the age of 92.

Greta Zimmer Friedman’s son says his mother died Thursday at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia. She died from complications of old age, he said.

Friedman was a 21-year-old dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day the Japanese surrendered. People spilled out into the streets from restaurants, bars and movie theaters in New York City when they heard the news. That’s when George Mendonsa spotted Friedman, spun her around and planted a kiss on her. The two had never met.

In fact, Mendonsa was on a date with an actual nurse, Rita Petry, who would later become his wife.

The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt is called “V-J Day in Times Square” but is known to most the world over as simply, “The Kiss.” Mendonsa says that in some photos of the scene, Petry could be seen smiling in the background.

The photo was first published in Life, buried deep within the magazine’s pages. Over the years, the photo gained recognition, and several people claimed to be the kissing couple. In an August 1980 issue of Life, 11 men and three women said they were the subjects. It was years until Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Joshua Friedman says his mother recalled it all happening in an instant.

“It wasn’t that much of a kiss,” Friedman said in an interview with the Veterans History Project in 2005. “It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event.”

The photograph has become one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century.

Both of Friedman’s parents died in the Holocaust, according to Lawrence Verria, co-author of “The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II.” Friedman, who had escaped Austria, got to the U.S. when she was 15.

Friedman will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, next to her late husband, Dr. Misha Friedman.

Facebook is changing find out how to get 7News in your newsfeed

More stories you may like on 7News

Inman manhunt suspect captured

Jemark Ballenger was wanted in New York for Vehicular and/or Negligent Manslaughter, according to deputies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s