Man Claims He's the Mystery Sailor in 'The Kiss'

Former Navy officer says he is the sailor depicted in the 1945 Life photograph.

ByABC News via logo
July 27, 2007, 3:12 PM

Aug. 7, 2007 — -- V-J Day, Aug. 14, 1945 -- World War II is finally over and New York's Times Square has erupted in spontaneous celebration.

Suddenly a handsome sailor pulls a young nurse into an embrace. The iconic image of that kiss, immortalized by the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt in Life magazine, became the symbol of a joyful nation's victory.

Glenn McDuffie, now 80 years old, joined the ranks of more than 10 other men who over the years have claimed to be that swashbuckling sailor.

As the 62nd anniversary of the famous photo approaches, McDuffie said he wants the truth to come out once and for all -- it was he who made the world swoon with his triumphant kiss.

McDuffie even took a lie detector test to prove he is the smooching sailor and now, thanks to a forensic photo analysis, a Houston scientist agrees.

"Glenn McDuffie is the swabbie that kissed the nurse that celebrated that the war was over," said forensic artist and facial expert Lois Gibson.

Life magazine has never taken a position in any of the identity disputes regarding the identities of the sailor or the nurse, a Life spokesperson told ABC News in an e-mail, and said Eisenstaedt took no notes or names the day he snapped the photo.

The mystery kiss occurred amid the impromptu celebration in New York's Times Square following the news that World War II had finally ended. The image has since been referred to by many as a "manifestation" of the nationwide celebration.

McDuffie, who was 18 years old when the photo was taken, said he was traveling to visit a girl in Brooklyn from his naval base in Kannapolis, N.C., when he heard the news.

"When I got off the subway I got to the top of the stairs and the lady up there said, 'Sailor, I'm so happy for you,'" said McDuffie. "I asked her why and she told me the war was over and I could go home. I ran into the street jumping and hollering."

It was then, McDuffie said, that he kissed the nurse.

"That nurse was out there and she turned around and put her arms out and that's when I kissed her," said McDuffie. "Then I heard someone running and I lifted my head and it was that photographer."

Describing that kiss today on "Good Morning America," McDuffie said, "It was a good kiss. It was a wet kiss... Someone asked me if it was a tongue kiss. I said, 'No tongue, but it was a nice kiss.'"