Kissing sailor' in WWII image dies

by RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI Associated Press Published:

HOUSTON -- A man who became known for claiming he was the sailor kissing a woman in Times Square in a famous World War II-era photo has died. Glenn McDuffie was 86.

McDuffie died March 9 in a nursing home in Dallas, his daughter, Glenda Bell, told The Associated Press.

After World War II, McDuffie, who was born in Kannapolis, N.C., and moved to Houston in 1960, became a mail carrier and semi-professional baseball player.

But his life became more exciting about six years ago when Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson was able to identify him as the young man in the photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

McDuffie had told the AP he was changing trains in New York when he was told that Japan had surrendered.

"I was so happy. I ran out in the street," said McDuffie, then 18 and on his way to visit his girlfriend in Brooklyn.

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

Gibson's daughter, Bell, said on anniversaries of the war's end her father would recall that moment and the air of excitement in Times Square.

For years it bothered him that he wasn't identified as the man in the photo, she said, and he turned to Gibson for help to clear it up.

"He wanted to do it before he died," she said.

McDuffie is survived by his daughter and two grandchildren. His funeral will be held March 21 at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

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Plushnick-Masti can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RamitMastiAP

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