Woman in iconic WWII Times Square kissing photo dies

The woman at the center of an iconic Times Square photograph taken at the end of World War II has died, her son confirmed to media outlets Saturday.

Greta Zimmer Friedman, then a 21-year-old dental assistant, was kissed by a sailor on Aug. 14, 1945, during a celebration as news of the Japanese surrender reached home. The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt was published in Life as “V-J Day in Times Square.” Friedman didn’t know the sailor, George Mendonsa, who grabbed who he thought was a nurse and planted a kiss.

Friedman’s son confirmed to NBC and CBS that his mother died Thursday following a bout with pneumonia. She was 92, and had been living in an assisted-living community, Joshua Friedman said.

Greta Friedman will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery alongside her late husband.

The black-and-white photo captured a nation’s relief and joy at wars’ end, with dozens of sailors and civilians celebrating on the street as Mendonsa kissed Friedman.

"The photo means a lot to so many people," Joshua Friedman told NBC News. "My mother always felt like it wasn't anything she did, it was something that happened to her."

While both Mendonsa and Zimmer said they are the photographed couple, others have also claimed to be depicted. The photograph doesn't show the faces clearly, and Eisenstaedt didn't get caption information before publishing. Scientists have used everything from shadow analysis and 3-D face scanning to try prove exactly who is depicted.


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