George Mendonsa, who maintained for decades that he was the sailor in an iconic 1945 Times Square photo, dubbed "The Kiss," that came to symbolize the end of World War II, has died, his family says. He was 95.
The veteran died early Sunday in Newport, Rhode Island, just two days before his 96th birthday, daughter Sharon Molleur told CNN. He will be buried at St. Columba Cemetery in his hometown of Middletown, Rhode Island, she said.
"When I look at that photograph, I just think of my dad's service, and how happy he was that it was all over," Molleur said.
Though Mendonsa never persuaded Life magazine, which first published Alfred Eisenstaedt's photo, that he was the man in the picture, several sources over the years -- including the authors of "The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II" -- have concluded the smooching seaman is Mendonsa. The authors cited facial recognition technology and high-tech forensic reconstructions.
In a 2015 interview, Mendonsa told CNN that he never failed to convince anyone of the fact.
"And when I get through showing you the photos ... if you don't admit that, I'd say you're a phony bastard," he told a reporter who visited his Middletown home.