Ann Turner Cook, who was immortalized in charcoal as the Gerber Baby, passed away at the age of 95.
The baby brand announced Cook’s passing on Instagram on Friday, June 4.
“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,” the company wrote.
“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 became the face of the brand back in 1928 at the age of 5 months. At the time, Gerber was holding a contest to find a face for a baby food advertising campaign.
According to Gerber’s website, artist Dorthy Hope Smith entered the sketch of Cook, who was her neighbor at the time. Smith said she would add in more details if the art won. But Gerber loved the sketch so much that they stuck with the “rough draft” she sent in.
In 1931, Gerber trademarked the image, and it has been used in advertising and marketing ever since.
Cook’s identity was kept secret until 1978, and up until then, people speculated that the sketch was of a celebrity as a child, like Humphrey Bogart or Elizabeth Taylor.
Cook spent her life as an English teacher in Tampa, Florida. After retiring from teaching, she became a mystery novelist, which feels fitting for someone who had people hoping to identify the Gerber baby.
As to the cherubic image itself, Cook told the Associated Press in a 1998 interview that Smith had simply captured the joy of all babies.
“All babies are appealing. The reason that drawing has been so popular is the artist captured the appeal that all babies have.″