Ann Turner Cook passed away on Friday at the age of 95. The announcement was made by Gerber via Instagram.
“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. 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. We extend our deepest sympathies to Ann’s family and to anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her,” the announcement read.
Cook was only a few months old when artist and neighbor at the time Dorothy Hope Smith sketched her face using charcoal. Gerber held a contest in 1928 in hopes to find a face to represent a baby food advertising campaign. Having a fresh sketch of an adorable, bright-eyed baby, Smith submit her incomplete drawing of Cook, noting that she would finish the sketch if she was selected as the winner. This is all according to the Gerber website.
The Gerber brand later went on to launch their first campaign with Cook’s face on the label. In 1991 they adopted the image as their official trademark, and since then, the Gerber baby has appeared on every Gerber product’s packaging and advertisements.
It was until 1978 that Cook’s identity remained anonymous. A poll was taken spreading across the U.S. for those attempting to guess the identity of the baby in the renowned sketch, with answers ranging from Elizabeth Taylor to Bob Dole.
“I was probably about 3 years old when mother pointed at a baby food jar and said that was my picture,” shared Cook with CBS Sunday Morning back in 2013. “I thought it was quite a lovely thing.”
Her survivors include three daughters, Jan Cook, Carol Legarreta and Kathy Cook; a son, Clifford; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.