Q&A with Edith Shain

"Kiss and Tell"

Q: Your LIFE Magazine photo is one of the all time great cultural and historical images. Could you tell us a little bit about what led up to what was happening in the photo?

A: I was a nurse at Doctor's Hospital and my girlfriend and I heard on the radio that the war had ended. Can you image that! So we went on the subway where all the celebrating was, Times Square, and as soon as I got off the subway a sailor grabbed and kissed me.

Q: Do you remember what thoughts were going through your mind at that moment?

A: Well, I figured, 'This guy has been fighting for me, I certainly would let him kiss me.' And it was a long long kiss!

Q: What was your reaction to seeing yourself in the photo when it first appeared?

A: I was surprised! I didn't tell the world who I was until 20 years later. Then I became good friends with the photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt and was featured on the cover of LIFE Magazine more than any other photo.

Q: Has it surprised you that the photo has had such an enduring impact?

A: I can't believe it. The picture is on hand bags, t-shirts, posters in college rooms, puzzles, watches. I'm really thrilled.

Q: Can you give us a brief overview of your life since that time?

A: I got back from NY after unveiling a statue the city made of the kiss in Times Square. I still lead a modest life. It's made me more aware about what is going on in this current war. It's brought a lot of friends into my life and enriched my life.

Q: Did you ever have aspirations of being an actress?

A: Yes, when I was very young but my father didn't allow me to go to Hollywood when I was 6 years old. That was during silent film era. I've done a lot of television but all related to the LIFE Kiss so this is new and exciting to be in a picture.

Q: Can you tell us about what kind of an experience you had in working on Filmmaker Vasily Shumov's KELTON'S DARK CORNER: EPISODE II?

A: It was a fun thing. I was delighted to be in the film. I like to watch "The Sopranos" so my character I developed was sinister and film noir although I really do care about people.

Q: Had you ever met Paul Marco. and if so, can you tell us a little bit about that?

A: Nice guy. I remember him in those films, several films, "PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE" and his character in "ED WOOD." I met him long after through Aaron Rosenberg's parties who is also in the film. We were also in a huge parade together.

Q: What activities have you been involved with and do you enjoy doing in more recent times?

A: I like to do art work, I like to read. I like to see programs on tv, but the most enjoyable time is when I'm with my friends and being on the phone. I'm enjoying being retired and having my friends coming over. I like my life, very happy.

Q: Would you like to do more movie work?

A: Oh yes, that would be exciting. That would be fun. A wonderful new experience for me. Instead of being on the outside looking in, I would be on the inside looking out!