Woman who claimed to be kissed by sailor in famed photo at World War Two's end dies

WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Greta Friedman, the woman who said she was kissed by a sailor in New York's Times Square in a photograph symbolizing the end of World War Two, has died at age 92, media reports said on Saturday.

Her son, Joshua Friedman, said she died on Thursday in Virginia after suffering a series of ailments, including pneumonia, NBC News reported.

CBS News said she would be laid to rest with her late husband, Mischa Elliot Friedman, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Friedman, then a dental assistant on a break, claimed for years that she was the woman in one of the most famous pictures of the 20th century, the moment Americans learned of the Japanese surrender on Aug. 14, 1945.

See the famous kiss and subsequent re-creations:

V-J Day Kiss in Times Square 1945 & recreations
See Gallery
V-J Day Kiss in Times Square 1945 & recreations
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 14: Army National Guard Capt. Ben Summers and girlfriend Elizabeth Booher kiss as they join dozens of couples in Times Square for a group kiss on the anniversary of the end of World War 2. Summers, an Afghanistan War veteran, also proposed to his lady friend as the couples mimicked the famous shot, captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, of a sailor kissing a nurse on Broadway on V-J Day, 62 years ago. (Photo by Michael Appleton/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – September 7, 2008 : Per and Dorene Piencka, (CQ) of Norwalk, CT, make a kissing pose for their scrapbook next to J. Seward Johnson's sculpture 'Unconditional Surrender' next to the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier at the San Diego Embarkadero. Unconditional Surrender, which is 25 feet high and weighs 6,000 pounds, is a three–dimensional interpretation of a photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a Sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square, New York City on Aug. 14, 1945, following the announcement of V–J Day. TheEmbarcadero is a popular scenic section of waterfront located next to the downtown area. It has sweeping views of San Diego Bay and many tourist attractions. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 14: Gredorieo Smith and Berity Rees (right), a couple on lunch break, join dozens of other couples in Times Square for a group kiss on the anniversary of the end of World War 2. The couples mimicked the famous shot, captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, of a sailor kissing a nurse on Broadway on V-J Day, 62 years ago. (Photo by Michael Appleton/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 14: Carl Muscarello and Edith Shain, who claim to be the nurse and sailor in the famous photograph taken on V-J Day, kiss next to a sculpture based on the photograph in Times Square to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II August 14, 2005 in New York City. Alfred Eisenstaedt took the famous photograph in Times Square but did not note the names of the people in the picture. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped a sailor in a dark uniform kissing Friedman with his arms around her and her white-clad body bent backwards as revelers in New York's Times Square celebrated the victory over Japan, or V-J Day.

"I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this vice grip," Friedman told CBS News in 2012. After the embrace, Friedman and the sailor, quartermaster George Mendonsa of Rhode Island, went their separate ways.

Eisenstaedt's photo, "V-J Day in Times Square," ran the following week in Life magazine.

The photographer recalled in his 1985 book "Eisenstaedt on Eisenstaedt" that a sailor in Times Square was kissing women randomly. When he saw a flash of white, he took four shots in 10 seconds.

"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," he said.

Mendonsa and Friedman were not identified until 1980 when Life asked the unknown pair to come forward. Mendonsa told CBS he and his future wife had been celebrating the end of the war when he began kissing women in the street.

In a 2005 interview with the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project, the Austrian-born Friedman said she later designed dolls' clothes, worked in summer theater and became a book restorer.

She moved to Frederick, Maryland, and graduated from Hood College in 1981, the same year her son and daughter graduated from university.

Friedman said of the photo, "It was a wonderful coincidence, a man in a sailor's uniform and a woman in a white dress ... and a great photographer at the right time."

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Richard Chang; Additional reporting by AOL.com)

Editor's note: An earlier version of this report stated without question that Greta Friedman was the woman in the famous V-J Day photo. She claimed to be, but was not the only woman who made such claims.

More V-J Day celebrations:
V-J Day celebrations
See Gallery
V-J Day celebrations
UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 01: Lady Charles Cavendish and American soldiers, Sgt V.J. Baietti, Sgt Thomas D. Lockner and Sgt H.R. Sarro of Texas. (Photo by Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images)
New York City celebrating VJ Day at the end of World war Two in Japan 1945. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
14th August 1945: A sailor blows a horn during the VJ Day celebrations in Times Square, New York. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
August 1945: Boy meets girl in the unleashed joy of the VJ Day celebration. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)
A couple hug in the crowd celebrating the surrender of Japan on VJ Day, during World war II, September 2, 1945. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) on Jackson Square, Oak Ridge. August 1945. The town of Oak Ridge was established by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of the Clinton Engineer Works in 1942 on isolated farm land as part of the Manhattan Project. The site was chosen for the X-10 Graphite Reactor, used to show that plutonium can be extracted from enriched uranium. Tennessee, USA. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
View of crowds gathering in Times Square to read the news of Japan's surrender on V-J (Victory in Japan) Day, New York City. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Outside the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens Greece. Photo is part of a Panorama 360 for use on the service. It is used in conjunction with promotin to the 2004 Summer Olympic games.
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 14: Sailor and his girl share a victory kiss in Times Square on VJ Day. (Photo by Phil Greitzer/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
2nd September 1945: An American air display in the sky over the USS Missouri on VJ Day. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)
Floats in a parade marking the first anniversary of VJ Day pass the Governor, Sir Franklin Gimson, on the steps of the Municipal Building, Singapore, 25th September 1946. (Photo by R. Lock/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.