Ann Turner Cook, the original Gerber baby model that was the face for every Gerber product for the last 90 years, has died, according to a post on the company’s Instagram page. Cook was 95.
“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,” a Gerber spokesperson wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
Cook came to be the Gerber baby in 1928 when she was just five months old. Her neighbor at the time, Dorothy Hope Smith, drew a charcoal sketch of the adorable tot that was submitted to a contest Gerber was having to promote its baby food.
The sketch of Cook was a huge hit, and Gerber had the image trademarked in 1931. It became iconic and has been used as the company’s packaging and advertising ever since.
The identity of the Gerber baby was kept secret for decades as if it was the identity of a superhero. It wasn’t until the 50th anniversary of the sketch in the late ’70s that Cook came forward to reveal she was the baby.
Over the 90 years the image was used, Cook made $5,000. She used the money to put a down payment on her first home, according to the New York Times.