2:59 pm - 03/16/2014

The Kissing Sailor in an Iconic WWII Image Has Died

In one of the most famous WWII-era photos, a sailor holds a nurse, bends her over, and kisses her in Times Square. The image was featured in Life magazine in 1945 and soon earned a permanent spot in the nation's consciousness, having been emulated at Fleet Week in NYC for decades. Glenn McDuffie, the man believed to be the sailor, died on March 9 in a nursing home in Dallas. He was 86.

Glenn's legacy is once again grabbing headlines as the nation remembers the moment that defined an era. According to Glenn, he met the nurse after he heard that Japan had surrendered. He was just 18 years old at the time. "I was so happy. I ran out in the street," he once told the Associated Press. Although Glenn had plans to see his girlfriend in Brooklyn, his enthusiasm took over when he spotted the nurse. "She saw me hollering and with a big smile on my face," he said. "I just went right to her and kissed her." It turns out, Glenn never said a word to the woman with whom he shared one of the most memorable kisses in history. "Afterward, I just went on the subway across the street and went to Brooklyn."

The specifics have long been debated. Other men have claimed to be the guy in the photo, but speculation largely ended when a well-respected forensic artist studied the image and found evidence to prove Glenn was the man. In the years since, Glenn shared the story at various events and parties. He even found a way to make money on his experience, kissing women on the cheek for $10 a pop. His daughter, Bell, recalled how much it meant to him to clear the air and receive credit for the kiss. "He wanted to do it before he died," she said.

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manita_bestija 16th-Mar-2014 09:03 pm (UTC)
good. assaulting creep.
dumpweeds 16th-Mar-2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
that picture always makes me uncomfortable, ngl
dumpweeds 16th-Mar-2014 09:19 pm (UTC)
sis you've been posting this all over the comments, I saw it. still doesn't change the fact that the picture makes me uncomfortable.
jellycar 16th-Mar-2014 09:21 pm (UTC)
that article is about a different guy? Did they only find out who he was last year or something or are people hating the guy who died for no reason?
euphrosyna 16th-Mar-2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
yeah me too. my friend had it for her FB profile pic for a while and it really creeped me out.
robintheshrew 17th-Mar-2014 01:19 am (UTC)
Same and hearing from the woman in the picture didn't help
therearewords 16th-Mar-2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
"to receive credit for the kiss"

oddpowers 16th-Mar-2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
Good, fucking creeper.
frankthesheep 16th-Mar-2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
I'm going to go with the "if you have nothing good to say..." line of thought on this one.
sallgoodman 16th-Mar-2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
Lol mte
eldvno 16th-Mar-2014 09:38 pm (UTC)
Yep, that is a good idea.
pinkolove 16th-Mar-2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
This story is so gross and the way his hand is around her is creepy
littlehayzay 16th-Mar-2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
I never got people that thought that photo was romantic - it's a creepy stranger walking up to that woman and kissing her without her consent. And evidently he had a girlfriend at the time, too. Then after he does it, he just walks away without saying a word? Creep. AND HE CHARGED WOMEN $10 AT PARTIES TO REENACT HIM BEING A CREEP? What an ass.

Edited at 2014-03-16 09:06 pm (UTC)
sallgoodman 16th-Mar-2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
Well for the longest time people thought they were a couple. I think once they find out the real story they stop thinking it's romantic
casiocasio 16th-Mar-2014 09:37 pm (UTC)
yeah I thought they were a couple too
bas_saarebas 16th-Mar-2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah I had always assumed they were a couple. Hearing the real story ruined the image. That poor woman. And living with that image becoming an icon must be the worst :/ At least you can't see her face well.
beatlesluv 16th-Mar-2014 10:26 pm (UTC)
I thought they were a couple. :/
celestinaketzia 16th-Mar-2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
I thought they were a couple. Now that I know he was a cheating creeper? Yeah, I don't care for the pic now.
cactus_rs 17th-Mar-2014 12:17 am (UTC)
This. Once I found out the story behind it, it skeeved me out 1000%.
sandstorm 16th-Mar-2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
redheadbynight 16th-Mar-2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
this story and picture just makes me uncomfortable

it's iconic but blegh
limberwolf 17th-Mar-2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
ia, the way he holds her head is so creepy, like he's keeping her from escaping
ekrelly 16th-Mar-2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
that photo always creeps me out because of the story behind it. kissing a random stranger without consent. ugh.
boogalooshaman 16th-Mar-2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
did they ever find out who the nurse was?
nalaa1906 16th-Mar-2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
She isn’t sure how long she was standing there; maybe minutes. “And then I was grabbed,” she says. “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”

oddpowers 16th-Mar-2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
ginger_maya 16th-Mar-2014 09:14 pm (UTC)

But it's so ~romantic~

dumpweeds 16th-Mar-2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
that article has different people than the one mentioned in the post, unless I'm reading the wrong part?
amilahxo 16th-Mar-2014 09:19 pm (UTC)
manita_bestija 16th-Mar-2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
yup, and she said she was being assaulted by a random stranger in that photo and that her trying to push at his chest produced no results because he didn't want to stop. but her story was silenced by Romantic People who didn't like that version so she had to change it decades later to get people off her back.
roseofjuly 16th-Mar-2014 10:04 pm (UTC)
No, not really. Two women - Edith Shain and Greta Friedman - have made the most widely-known claims to be her, but it's not really 100% clear whether either of them was her. Edith Shain was probably too short, as she's only 4'11".
nalaa1906 16th-Mar-2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
Receive credit for the kiss?
um... because it's such a nice and romantic story
hussel 16th-Mar-2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
lol wow @ everyone being like "good, fucking creep" . it's a cold rough world.

Edited at 2014-03-16 09:08 pm (UTC)
crazyspaced 16th-Mar-2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
davetvs 16th-Mar-2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
I'm dying at the replies, like damn
must_go_faster 16th-Mar-2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
it's the way we choose to mourn

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kwikimart 16th-Mar-2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
Because people aren't fans of a guy that forced himself on a woman and not only recieved zero consequences but is now treated as an icon of romance?
hussel 16th-Mar-2014 09:20 pm (UTC)
It just makes y'all look like absolute lunatics.
h0tfuss 16th-Mar-2014 09:28 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about the story.

If I were out and about (probably a bit drunk) during a public celebration of a war ending, I'm not sure that I'd be put off if some guy kissed me, especially if it became something iconic that I could use to pay off my student loan debt or whatever.
fancycarousel 16th-Mar-2014 09:48 pm (UTC)
bless ontd's cold hearts
goldengal1193 16th-Mar-2014 10:01 pm (UTC)
ikr? damn
warriorholmes 16th-Mar-2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
Ontd never forgives

U should know that by now lmao
hollis1975 16th-Mar-2014 10:26 pm (UTC)
everything upsets ONTD.
lordfoldemort 16th-Mar-2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
lol mte
stewie_e 17th-Mar-2014 07:38 am (UTC)
i don't justify his actions whatsoever but i agree. like damn.
lemmonsugar WWII documentary recommendations?16th-Mar-2014 09:08 pm (UTC)
I only made this post so I could ask you guys for WWII documentary recommendations? I love all kinds of mysteries documentaries and stuff like that, i was just watching this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZtsA4vJigk but i'm almost done and want to watch a WWII one.
lemmonsugar Re: WWII documentary recommendations?16th-Mar-2014 09:13 pm (UTC)
clearly i didn't think this through.
starsxsonatas Re: WWII documentary recommendations?16th-Mar-2014 09:27 pm (UTC)
LOL i am dying at this, for some reason i think this comment is really cute.

i was wondering what kind of responses would be in this post when i clicked. sorry it went awry, bb.
nalaa1906 Re: WWII documentary recommendations?16th-Mar-2014 09:37 pm (UTC)
forevertiffanys Re: WWII documentary recommendations?16th-Mar-2014 10:21 pm (UTC)
Ooh if you find any good ones let me know, I've been on a documentary binge lately.
_cheshire 17th-Mar-2014 04:34 am (UTC)
WWII in HD and WWII in color both give a pretty good overview of the war. White Light, Black Rain was a good documentary about the effects of the a-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nuit et brouillard (Night & Fog) is a great documentary about the Holocaust (it features archival footage of the camps and victims and can be hard to watch). 
smokesinatra 16th-Mar-2014 09:08 pm (UTC)
watchmen fixed it imo

davetvs 16th-Mar-2014 09:10 pm (UTC)
How? They were strangers too weren't they which is why everyone is ~outraged~
smokesinatra 16th-Mar-2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
it's been like 4 years since i've read it/watched the movie but i'm PRETTY certain they were lovers? this wasn't their first meeting...i don't think
xdecadentx 16th-Mar-2014 09:17 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure as it continues she's in a relationship with her.
writinchica2k 16th-Mar-2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
If they showed outrage over the Watchmen scene they'd look homophobic, that's why.
landwarinasia 16th-Mar-2014 09:12 pm (UTC)
The opening credits of this movie held such promise...
windyourneckin 16th-Mar-2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
awww watchmen <3
fancycarousel 16th-Mar-2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
robintheshrew 17th-Mar-2014 01:22 am (UTC)
Agreed :')
supertex 17th-Mar-2014 01:29 am (UTC)
was hoping this gif would be posted
yummyhead2toe 17th-Mar-2014 05:17 am (UTC)
NTY. Give me two men instead.
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