Navy Vet Famous for WWII Kiss Photo Dead at 86
Glenn McDuffie is thought to be the sailor in Times Square
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2014 5:43 AM CDT
In this 2007 file photo, Glenn McDuffie holds a portrait of himself as a young man, left, and a copy of Alfred Eisenstaedt's iconic 'Life' magazine shot.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

(Newser) – The Navy sailor believed to have stolen what might be the famous kiss in US history is dead at age 86, reports NBC News. Glenn McDuffie is credited with being the vet smooching a nurse in Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945, to mark the end of World War II. Though Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt didn't get either of the kissers' names, a police forensic artist said in 2007 that she was "absolutely positive" McDuffie was the sailor.

McDuffie explained previously to the AP that he was in New York when he heard the news that Japan had surrendered:

  • "And then I saw that nurse," he said. "She saw me hollering and with a big smile on my face. ... I just went right to her and kissed her. We never spoke a word. Afterward, I just went on the subway across the street and went to Brooklyn."

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
Mar 16, 2014 2:10 PM CDT
Its "Situation Ethics"> They're in Times Square, WWII has just ended, a young sailor has his reprieve, and what better way to show appreciation of nurses who cared for sailors? Her body language shows an appreciation for what sailors were faced with> possible death, while she was representative of a possible good life ahead instead of death.
Mar 15, 2014 7:06 PM CDT
There was an article on newser several several months ago that declared this assault ( sexual assault I think ) Sadly, if this happened today it probably would lead to an arrest.
Faust Darkwell
Mar 15, 2014 12:07 PM CDT
McDuffie was one of the "last" witnesses to a horrific period in the world's history. Eventually, his life will be forgotten and he will be reduced to a byline under an infamous photo. The future generations will pay less and less attention to history, especially without living witnesses around, and who knows, there may come a day when they have to make a choice whether to repeat the past or not. With that said, most of the comments on here are pretty disturbing. Much of the lamentations and wistful musings seem to be focused on something that used to be "acceptable" before it was labeled as sexual assault. Sorry to disappoint you guys, but it was sexual assault then and now. The nurse in the photo, Greta Zimmer was interviewed about it and she has stated in clear terms that she was forcefully grabbed and kissed then let go without so much as a parting word. The only difference is how it was dealt with. "Boys will be boys." That's one of the reasons people used to rationalize men's behaviour. Women were told to submit and accept men's advances, that they should be "thrilled" for the attention. Even if it made them uncomfortable. If the kiss had happened today, Greta would have spoken up because women's feelings are more valid now than they were then. We would have listened and criticized the man's actions. To wish for days when you could simply walk up to a total stranger and forcefully kiss them, and move on, it's just disturbing.