Lovers In World War 2 Iconic Kissing Photo Revealed
Two authors claim they have finally identified the sailor and the nurse seen kissing in the iconic 1945 Life magazine photograph from the end of World War II.
In the book “The Kissing Sailor,” co-authors George Galdorisi of Coronada, California, and Lawrence Verria of Bristol, Rhode Island, tell about the story of the real man and woman in the picture.
On August 14, 1945, which was Victory Over Japan Day, Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt took the photo in New York City’s Time Square. He took four dozen photographs, including four of the unknown couple kissing. Eisenstaedt had lost track of his reporter in the crowd, and the sailor and the nurse went on without even telling each other, or him, their names.
In 1980, Life Magazine did a retrospective about the picture, asking the real sailor and nurse to come forward. The problem was, more than two people did.
The authors Galdorisi and Verria met through a mutual friend and said they agreed to track down the story of the photograph together.
Galdorisi said that Verria first heard of the identity of the sailor, George Mendonsa, from a student in one of his classes. Soon after, he saw the copy of the iconic picture in a restaurant in Rhode Island next to a photo of the sailor in his navy uniform. He learned that the sailor was a local celebrity.
Verria interviewed Mendonsa and believed his story, feeling he had proved his identity as the sailor in the picture.
The co-authors positively identified the nurse in the picture as Greta Zimmer Friedman, who now lives in Maryland. Both involved in the famous kiss are now 89 years old.
Galdorisi said he and Verria proved the identities of the famous kissing couple by forensic analysis, advanced photographic interpretation and other technical means.
The iconic photograph has made headlines recently for other reasons. Singer Katy Perry re-enacted the photo with a sailor she pulled onto stage in a recent concert.
The book “The Kissing Sailor,” revolves around the picture itself, the publication of Life magazine, Times Square where the photo was taken, and the people involved in the story.