The kiss she got from a U.S. sailor in New York’s Times Square became one of the most iconic images of celebrations after the Japanese surrendered in World War II.
Greta Friedman died Thursday at an assisted living facility, her son, Joshua Friedman, told CBS News. She was 92.
Friedman had been ill for some time and had recently contracted pneumonia, her son told the New York Daily News.
The famous kiss was a spontaneous moment after news broke of Japan’s surrender on Aug. 14, 1945, ending the conflict. Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the kiss for LIFE magazine, but he never asked for the couple’s name.
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“I saw a sailor running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight,” Eisenstaedt, who died in 1995, was quoted in a 2012 story in the Daily News. “I took exactly four pictures. It was done within a few seconds.”
Over the years, several men and women claimed to be the couple in the photo. In a 2012 book, “The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II,” the identities of the sailor and nurse were determined: George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman.
The authors, George Galdorisi and Lawrence Verria, said they figured out the identities “through forensic analysis, through photographic interpretation and through some other technical means,” according to a Daily News story.
Friedman, who was a 21-year-old dental assistant not a nurse, told CBS News in 2012 that she didn’t see Mendonsa approaching.
“Before I know it, I was in this vise grip,” she said.
CBS News reunited Mendonsa and Friedman in 2012 at the spot of their kiss for just the second time since that day in 1945. Mendonsa, 93, is a retired fisherman living in Rhode Island, according to the Daily News.
Friedman was born in Austria in 1924. She and two sisters fled from the Nazis in 1938. She married Mischa Friedman, a doctor, in 1956 and moved to Maryland, the Daily News reported. He died in 1998.
She will be laid to rest with him at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, according to CBS.