An American icon passed away last week when Gerber baby food model Ann Turner Cook died at the age of 95.
As UPI reported, Cook’s adorable face began to appear on Gerber products after she was sketched as an infant by artist Dorothy Hope Smith in 1928. The baby food giant posted a statement on Instagram lamenting Cook’s death.
“Extraordinary mother, teacher and writer”
“Gerber is deeply saddened by the passing of Ann Turner Cook, the original Gerber baby, whose face was sketched to become the iconic Gerber logo more than 90 years ago,” the statement read.
“Many years before becoming an extraordinary mother, teacher and writer, her smile and expressive curiosity captured hearts everywhere and will continue to live on as a symbol for all babies,” it continues.
The company concluded by declaring, “We extend our deepest sympathies to Ann’s family and to anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.”
The New York Times noted that Cook’s identity was not made public until some five decades after the drawing was first submitted to Gerber as part of a contest.
Although she received no royalties for the use of her likeness, Cook was paid $5,000 as part of a settlement in 1951 which allowed her to make a down payment on a new home.
The paper reported that Cook praised Smith, who was a childhood neighbor, for her artistic talent during a 1992 interview with The St. Petersburg Times.
“I have to credit Dorothy with everything,” Cook said. “I was really no cuter than any other baby, but she had wonderful artistic talent and was able to draw a very appealing likeness.”
Cook was born and spent her early years in Bridgeport, Connecticut before moving to Florida with her family where she went on to become a school teacher.
Cook married James Cook, who worked as a criminologist with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa. The couple had three daughters as well as a son.
For years, there was wide speculation over who the Gerber baby might be, with popular guesses including Humphrey Bogart, Shirley Temple, Elizabeth Taylor, Brooke Shields, Bob Dole, and Richard Nixon.