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"Kissing sailor" in iconic NY picture dies age 95

AFP logoAFP 2/18/2019 GABRIEL BOUYS
A visitor walks past "VJ Day in Times Square, New York, NY, 1945" by Alfred Eisenstaedt during the Life. I grandi fotografi (Life. The great photographers) exhibition April 30, 2013 in Rome © Provided by AFP A visitor walks past "VJ Day in Times Square, New York, NY, 1945" by Alfred Eisenstaedt during the Life. I grandi fotografi (Life. The great photographers) exhibition April 30, 2013 in Rome

The sailor pictured kissing a woman in Times Square as people celebrated the end of World War II has died at age 95, his daughter told the Providence Journal.

George Mendonsa had a seizure Sunday after falling at an assisted living facility in Middleton, Rhode Island, his daughter Sharon Molleur said.

In the famous image, one of four taken by Alfred Eisenstadt for Life magazine, Mendonsa is seen ecstatically bending over and kissing a woman in a white nurse's uniform.

The picture was published by Life as "V-J Day in Times Square."

Mendonsa, who served in the Pacific during World War II, was on home leave when the picture was taken.

He had long claimed to be the sailor in the picture, but it wasn't confirmed until recently with the use of facial recognition technology.

George Mendonsa, 89, holds one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century at his Middletown, Rhode Island home, October 2,3 2012. In the photograph, Mendonsa is widely believed to be the sailor kissing an unsuspecting nurse (actually a dental hygienist) on V-E Day in Times Square in 1945. © Patrick Raycraft/Hartford Courant/MCT/Getty Images George Mendonsa, 89, holds one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century at his Middletown, Rhode Island home, October 2,3 2012. In the photograph, Mendonsa is widely believed to be the sailor kissing an unsuspecting nurse (actually a dental hygienist) on V-E Day in Times Square in 1945. Greta Zimmer Friedman, the woman in the picture, died in 2016 at age 92.

Eisenstadt did not get the names of the kissing strangers.

He later described watching the sailor running along the street, and 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," he wrote in "Eisenstadt on Eisenstadt."

"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."

Mendonsa, who served in the Pacific during World War II, was on home leave when the picture was taken.

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