Woman in iconic kiss photo from V-J Day dead at 92

"Kissing the War Goodbye" by Victor Jorgensen (U.S. Navy)

"Kissing the War Goodbye" by Victor Jorgensen (U.S. Navy)

Greta Zimmer Friedman, whose kiss with a sailor on V-J Day was captured in an iconic photo, has died at the age of 92.

Friedman’s son told CBS News she passed away on Thursday after she was in an assisted living facility for the past two years.

The image of Friedman being kissed by a sailor in Times Square captures the scene after Americans learned the Japanese were surrendering on September 2, 1945, bringing World War II to an end.

Famous photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt took the photo for Life magazine, but it’s subjects were unknown for decades because he didn’t get their names.

Navy veteran George Mendonsa has also claimed he’s the sailor in the photograph, saying he’d had a few drinks before and grabbed Friedman to kiss her because he was grateful for what he’d seen nurses do in the war. Friedman was dressed in a white uniform but was actually working as a dental assistant at the time.

“I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this vice grip,” Friedman told CBS News.

The fact that Friedman didn’t consent to the kiss before it happened has caused some to criticize it as an act of sexual assault. Another view of the kiss was captured by U.S. Navy photojournalist Victor Jorgensen, but the angle is less compelling and the photo didn’t achieve the same iconic status.

 

A black and white print of a couple kissing in Times Square on VJ Day, taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A black and white print of a couple kissing in Times Square on VJ Day, taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)