Glenn Edward McDuffie, LIFE Magazine, Kissing Sailor

REUTERS/Victor Jorgensen/US Navy/Handout via Reuters

It is highly regarded as one of the most iconic photographs from the 20th century. A sailor bends a nurse over his knee and holds her as they passionately lock lips in Times Square. Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped the jubilant duo mid-kiss on Aug. 14, 1945, the day Japan surrendered in WW II.

Glenn McDuffie, the man believed to be the sailor, has died. He was 86, his family confirmed to the Houston Chronicle.

"I heard someone running and stopping right in front of us," McDuffie told the newspaper about the impromptu moment in 2007. He was 18 years old when the photograph was taken.

He continued: "I raised my head up, and it was a photographer. I tried to get my hand out of the way so I wouldn't block her face, and I kissed her just long enough for him to take the picture."

According to the AP, the famous pair never spoke a word, but their brief encounter is one of the most memorable kisses in history. 

Several other men came forward as the sailor and Eisenstaedt never confirmed the identity of the man in the photograph. Speculation largely ended six years ago when forensic artist Lois Gibson said the man in the photograph was McDuffie.

Decades after the snapshot, many women would approach McDuffie and ask to recreate the magical smooch. But they usually got to kiss his cheek, Gibson told the newspaper.

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