Ann Turner Cook, the original Gerber Baby whose familiar face has been printed on thousands of products over generations, has died, the company announced on Instagram. Cook was 95 years old.
“Many years before she became an extraordinary mother, teacher and writer, her smile and expressive curiosity won hearts everywhere and will live on as a symbol for all babies,” Gerber said in a statement posted online. .
“We send our deepest condolences to Ann’s family and to all who had the pleasure of knowing her,” he added.
A sketch of Cook’s baby face has been Gerber’s iconic logo for over 90 years.
It all started with a contest the company held to find a face for a baby food ad campaign, according to the Gerber. website.
Dorothy Hope Smith, a neighbor of Cook’s family, returned a charcoal sketch she had drawn of Cook and said she would complete it if she won, according to the site.
The contest judges “fell in love with the baby’s face” and insisted that a sketch remain.
“The image of this happy, healthy baby would soon become the face that launched a brand, a face recognized and loved around the world,” according to the company’s website.
But the baby’s identity remained secret until 1978, the company said.
Cook became a detective novelist and an English teacher, according to Gerber.
“Mrs. Cook’s sparkling eyes and adorable, curious baby face always personify the Gerber brand, representing Gerber’s commitment to happy, healthy babies everywhere,” he added.
Gerber is best known for its baby foods and formulas, but it also sells children’s clothing, life insurance and other products.