UK & World News

  • 15 March 2014, 14:56

WWII 'Kissing Sailor' Glenn McDuffie Dies

The US man renowned for claiming he was the "kissing sailor" in an iconic World War Two-era image has died aged 86.

Glenn McDuffie's daughter Glenda Bell said he died in a nursing home in Dallas, Texas on March 9.

Mr McDuffie had long claimed to be the US sailor in the famous image taken by a Life magazine photographer during V-J Day celebrations on August 14, 1945.

The image, which shows the soldier passionately kissing a nurse in New York's Times Square, has come to represent the moment victory was declared over Japan.

Mr McDuffie, who would have been 18 at the time, said he acted on an impulse after he was told Japan had surrendered.

He said: "I was so happy. I ran out in the street ... And then I saw that nurse 

"She saw me hollering and with a big smile on my face. ... I just went right to her and kissed her."

He added : "We never spoke a word.

"Afterward, I just went on the subway across the street and went to Brooklyn."

His claim was shrouded in controversy for many years, with several men claiming to be the "kissing soldier".

The mystery was made harder to crack by the fact photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt did not ask the names of the kissing couple at the time.

It was just six years ago that Mr McDuffie's identity was verified following intensive tests carried out by Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson.

Ms Gibson, who is in the 2005 Guinness Book of World Records for helping police identify more suspects than any other forensic artist, said she took around 100 pictures of the then-80-year-old navy veteran using a pillow to pose as he did in the photograph.

She said she was able to identify him by to matching his muscles, ears and other features to the young soldier in the original image.

Ms Gibson said: "I was absolutely positive ... It was perfect."

With Ms Gibson's backing Mr McDuffie won instant notoriety and began touring the United States, going to air shows, fundraisers and parties.

Ms Gibson said he would often be asked to pose for replica photographs.

"He would make money and kiss women," she said.

"He had the most glamorous life of any 80-year-old."

Mr McDuffie is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.