“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,” read the announcement.
Cook, who was born in 1926, was only a few months old when an artist and neighbor named Dorothy Hope Smith sketched her face using charcoal. In 1928, Gerber held a contest to find a face to represent a baby food advertising campaign, and Smith entered her sketch of an adorable, bright-eyed baby, noting that she would finish the sketch if she won, according to the Gerber website.
Smith won the contest, and the illustration of Cook remained a sketch that helped launch the Gerber brand. In 1991, Gerber adopted it as their official trademark, according to their website. Since then, the Gerber baby has shown up on all Gerber packaging and advertisements.
Cook’s identity was kept a secret until 1978. A poll was taken across the United States to guess the identity of the Gerber baby, 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,” Cook told CBS Sunday Morning in 2013. “I thought it was quite a lovely thing.”