06:50 GMT +319 August 2019
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    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

    US World War II ‘Kissing Sailor’ Dies Aged 95

    © AP Photo / Victor Jorgensen
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    George Mendonsa, the US sailor who became famous after being photographed celebrating the end of World War II by bending over and kissing 21-year-old Greta Zimmer Friedman on VJ Day (Victory over Japan) in New York's Times Square, has died aged 95.

    Mendonsa’s daughter, Sharon Molleur, said her father suffered a seizure and died on Sunday after a fall at a care home in Middleton, Rhode Island.

    The photo, which went on to become one of the most enduring images of the period, was taken by Alfred Eisenstadt as a round-up of celebration pictures for Life magazine. The photographer did not give the names of the kissing strangers so it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman, who died in 2016 aged 92, were confirmed as the featured couple.

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    Eisenstadt described how he watched the sailor running along the street on 14 August 1945, grabbing any girl in sight.

    “I was running ahead of him with my Leica looking back over my shoulder but none of the pictures that were possible pleased me. Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse. If she had been dressed in a dark dress I would never have taken the picture,” the photographer later wrote in his book.

    Friedman, who had been working as a dental assistant, said she had not been aware of the photo until the 1960s, noting that the kiss “wasn’t a romantic event” and was just a celebration.

    Mendonsa had served in the Pacific and was on home leave when the picture was taken.

    The photograph represented the sense of joy felt across the US on the day Japan surrendered. However, a recent article in Time Magazine suggested that the photo is “little more than the documentation of a very public sexual assault.”


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