Ann Turner Cook, whose angelic baby face was known around the world as the original Gerber baby, has died. She was 95.
Gerber announced Cook’s death in an Instagram post on Friday.
“Many years before she became 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,” the company said.
Cook was 5 months old when a neighbor, artist Dorothy Hope Smith, drew a charcoal sketch of her that was later submitted to a contest Gerber was running for a national baby food marketing campaign.
The image was such a success that it became the company’s trademark in 1931 and has been used on all packaging and advertising ever since.
For decades, however, the baby’s identity was kept a secret, sparking rumors about who it was with guesses including Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor.
In the late 1970s, it was revealed that she was 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 had told her when she was young that she was the baby in the illustration.
She said, “If you’re going to be a symbol of something, what could be nicer than a symbol of baby food?”
As for the image itself, he said: “All babies are attractive. The reason drawing has been so popular is that the artist captured the appeal that all babies have.”
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