Navy veteran who claimed to be the man in the 1945 photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square amid World War II victory celebrations has died
March 15, 2014 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography
Alfred Eisenstaedt: V.J. Day in Times Square, New York, August 14, 1945
"In Times Square on V.J. Day I saw a sailor running along the street grabbing any and every girl in sight. Whether she was a grandmother, stout, thin, old, didn't make a difference. 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. If the sailor had worn a white uniform, the same. I took exactly four pictures. It was done within a few seconds.Only one is right, on account of the balance. In the others the emphasis is wrong — the sailor on the left side is either too small or too tall. People tell me that when I am in heaven they will remember this picture." --Alfred Eisensdtaedt, Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt, Abbeville Press
Glen McDuffie is one of several people who have claimed to be the man in the Alfred Eisenstaedt photo originally published in LIFE Magazine.
"While many people claimed to be the participants in the iconic photograph, McDuffie's assertion was backed up by Lois Gibson, a forensic artist with the Houston Police Department." (Via Gothamist: Famous V-J Day Times Square Kiss Sailor Dies At 86)
Many others have also publicly claimed to be the participants in the photograph, as in this 2012 article, with one even going so far as to file a lawsuit against Time Inc. alleging that both Time and Life had violated his right of publicity by using the photograph without his permission. He eventually dropped the lawsuit.
In October 1980, Life published a special spread entitled “Who Is the Kissing Sailor?” Ten sailors wrote to the magazine, each one insisting with convincing evidence — a distinctive hairline, a signature vein on the right hand, a newly acquired Quartermaster 1st Class patch — that he was the “kissing sailor”. Three women also wrote in and claimed to be the nurse.
At exhibitions of his photographs towards then of his life, Alfred Eisenstaedt would frequently encounter people claiming to be the sailor or the nurse. Always gracious, Eisie would simply shake their hands and say "How nice". He was working alone that day in Times Square, without a reporter, and never paused to get anyones name.
The New York Times: Man Known as Kissing Sailor in WWII-Era Image Dies