TAMPA, Florida –
Ann Turner Cook, whose cherubic baby face was known around the world as the original Gerber baby, has died. She was 95 years old.
Gerber announced Cook’s passing in an Instagram post on Friday.
“Many years before becoming an extraordinary mother, teacher and writer, her smile and expressive curiosity won hearts everywhere and will live on as a symbol for all babies,” the company said.
Cook was 5 months old when a neighbour, artist Dorothy Hope Smith, drew a charcoal sketch of her which was later entered into a competition Gerber was running for a national baby food marketing campaign.
The image was so successful that it became the company’s trademark in 1931 and has been used in all packaging and advertising since.
For decades, however, the baby’s identity was kept under wraps, sparking rumors about her identity with guesses such as Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor.
In the late 1970s, it was revealed to be Cook, who grew up to be an English teacher in Tampa, Florida, and later a mystery novelist.
Cook told The Associated Press in a 1998 interview that her mother told her when she was young that she was the baby in the illustration.
She said, “If you want to be a symbol for something, what could be nicer than a symbol for baby food? »
As for the image itself, she said, “All babies are attractive. The reason the design is so popular is that the artist has captured the appeal that all babies have. »