Edith Shain, a former nurse whose impromptu V-J day kiss with American sailor George Mendonça was captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt’s in his iconic photograph “V–J day in Times Square,” passed away on Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 92.
On Aug. 14, 1945, more than 750,000 people gathered in New York City’s Times Square, to celebrate the Japanese surrender and the end of World War II. Among the excited crowd was Edith Shain, a nursing school student, along with her roommate who had taken the subway to Times Square when they heard the war was over. “This sailor just grabbed me and kissed me,” she said. “Any female closes her eyes when she’s about to kiss so I never saw the guy, and then I walked away. I was kind of embarrassed. I didn’t say anything about it to anyone.” What Shain didn’t realize, until a week later, was that her “indiscretion” was caught on film and whilst browsing a copy of LIFE magazine she saw herself in what would become one of the great photographs of the 20th Century.