Man in famous WWII V-J Day celebration photo dies

Glenn Edward McDuffie was captured on film at war's end

Photo: Lois Gibson
Photo: Lois Gibson

HOUSTON – A veteran who was part of one of the most famous wartime photos has died, family members say.

Glenn Edward McDuffie was the sailor kissing the nurse in the end of WWII celebration of V-J day photo. He was 86.

According to his obituary, McDuffie joined the Navy in 1942 when he was just 15 years old. The obit says he found a friend to forge his mom's signature, saying he was of age to serve.

Then on August 14, 1945, in Times Square, McDuffie was part of that legendary photo.

His daughter, Glenda Bell, says she grew up hearing all about the photo.

"As a teenager you're just like, 'Yeah, right, daddy.  Okay, daddy,' I had attitude because I was a teenager... I always wished he could prove it and he always wanted to prove it," she said.

McDuffie moved to Houston in 1960 and lived there until 2009, when he moved to the Dallas area to be near Bell.

That proof finally came in 2007, thanks to Houston forensic artist, Lois Gibson.

Gibson, a biometrics expert, compared the infamous photo with one of McDuffie in his older years. According to Gibson, McDuffie's features were consistent and the only difference was a longer and larger nose in his later years, which is normal since individuals' noses continue to grow.

Bell says her dad finally felt relief.

"He finally felt justified in all the time he'd been saying, 'That's me! That's me!'  Because so many other people claimed to be the sailor, too," she said.

Bell said McDuffie felt he had the best proof, thanks to Gibson.

"He stood his ground til the day he died," she said.

McDuffie kept busy with speaking engagements and appearances for the rest of his life. His last appearance was Feb. 21.

"It's a legacy that will be carried on forever. My boys will be talking about it even after I'm gone," Bell said of the photo.