Vet Who Says He Was 'Kissing Sailor' In Famous Photo Dies - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Vet Who Says He Was 'Kissing Sailor' In Famous Photo Dies

Posted: Updated:
(NBC News)-  A Navy veteran who claimed to be the sailor who was kissing a nurse in the famous Alfred Eisenstaedt photo taken in Times Square on V-J day has died.

Glenn McDuffie's daughter said he died Sunday of natural causes. He was 86.

McDuffie's claim that he was the man in the iconic World War II picture was backed up by a police forensic artist who said she matched his facial structure.

"He ate it up!" said his daughter, Glenda McDuffie Bell. "He loved the attention."

Life magazine, which published the picture, has never verified the identity of the sailor and nurse, and a number of other men and women have claimed to be the strangers who celebrated Japan's surrender with a spontaneous clinch.

One of them, George Mendonsa, of Rhode Island, even sued Life. A team of volunteers from the Naval War College used 3-D face scanning technology to conclude he was the real deal.

McDuffie's daughter said her father only came forward after others — falsely, he contended — put themselves forth as the mystery seaman.

His story was that he was changing trains in New York when he learned the war was over and that his brother would be coming home from a Japanese prison camp.

“I was so happy. I ran out in the street,” McDuffie told the Associated Press years later.

“And then I saw that nurse,” he said. “She saw me hollering and with a big smile on my face ... I just went right to her and kissed her.

“We never spoke a word,” he said. “Afterward, I just went on the subway across the street and went to Brooklyn.”

McDuffie — who spent three years in the Navy as a gunner and later played semi-pro baseball and worked for the Postal Service — also turned to experts to boost his claim.

The thrice-married retiree was living in Texas and battling lung cancer when Houston Police artist Lois Gibson concluded he was the sailor in the photo in 2007.

He said at the time that it was important to tell his story before he died.

"It certainly got him the recognition that he deserved, and he was able to out to all kinds of events and speak about it and tell how it happened," his daughter said.

"When he realized how many people were touched by the photo, it humbled him."

Because Eisenstaedt, who died in 1995, didn’t identify the subjects of the photo, Life Books editorial director Robert Sullivan said the identities will officially remain a mystery.

“The recent (claims) are ’CSI’ type of inquiries. We think that’s great but we just can’t know for sure on our end. We can’t be in a position of anointing one or the other without hard proof,” he said.

Other men have purported to be the sailor in the picture, including a retired New York police detective and a Rhode Island fisherman. Several women have claimed to be the nurse.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    VIRAL VIDEO: Dog passes out from overwhelming joy at owners return

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:26:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>
    KHQ.COM - A woman who left her dog in the care of friends while she moved away for two years, got an unexpected and heart melting reaction from her little schnauzer, Casey, when she returned. This video has gone viral since it was posted July 24th with over 17 million views as of July 28th.>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war

    Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:36 AM EDT2014-07-27 14:36:04 GMT
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas says it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war ahead of a major Muslim holiday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. Sunday. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.>>
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas says it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war ahead of a major Muslim holiday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. Sunday. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.>>
  • Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

    Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

    Saturday, July 26 2014 5:55 PM EDT2014-07-26 21:55:02 GMT
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren't released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim's hometown have been informed.>>
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren't released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim's hometown have been informed.>>
  • 3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce

    3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce

    Saturday, July 26 2014 5:19 PM EDT2014-07-26 21:19:11 GMT
    JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel despite a proposed extension of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza war.Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight Saturday.>>
    JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel despite a proposed extension of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza war.Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight Saturday.>>