Times Square Kiss Photo

Times Square Kiss Photo (Time Life Pictures / Getty Images)

The nurse who claimed to be at the center of the iconic " Times Square Kiss" World War II photo has died.

Edith Shain died Sunday at her Los Angeles home of liver cancer, according to her son, Robert. She was 91 years old.

The photo shows Shain, dressed in her white nurse's uniform, being dipped and kissed by a U.S. sailor on V-J Day in New York's Times Square to celebrate Japan's surrender and the end of World War II.

Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped the photo which became one of the most famous pictures of the WW II era. Eisenstaedt, however, never got the names of the people in the photo.

The young nurse's identity was a mystery until the 1970's when Shain wrote the photographer and said she was the nurse in the photo taken on August 14, 1945, while she was working at the Doctor's Hospital in New York City. The sailor's identity is still unknown.

Shain said she never got the sailor's name, either.

"I went from Doctors Hospital to Times Square that day because the war was over, and where else does a New Yorker go?" she said in 2008, when she donned a white nurse's uniform again and was grand marshal of New York's Veterans Day parade. "And this guy grabbed me and we kissed, and then I turned one way and he turned the other. There was no way to know who he was, but I didn't mind because he was someone who had fought for me."

"As for the picture," she said, "it says so many things - hope, love, peace and tomorrow. The end of the war was a wonderful experience, and that photo represents all those feelings."

Shain's son, Michael, described Eisenstaedt's photo as having captured "an epic moment in American history, one that inspired patriotism, unity, joy and a spontaneous national pride in victoriously ending the war."

Shain moved to California after the war and continued her nursing career but also taught kindergarten in Los Angeles for thirty years.

She devoted her life to helping veterans. She appeared in Memorial Day parades around the country and also made a point of teaching youngsters about the war, her son said.