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Original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook, dies at 95

The company honored Cook’s legacy as their original Gerber baby back in 1928.
/ Source: TODAY

Ann Turner Cook, the original Gerber baby, died on Friday, June 3 at age 95. 

The company announced the news on Instagram on Friday, sharing a post honoring the late author. In the first slide, Gerber posted a photo of Cook as an adult, followed by a sketch of her as a baby with the note, “The sketch of Ann that would become Gerber’s iconic logo.”

“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 caption read. “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.”

The caption concluded on a touching note for Cook’s family, reading, “We extend our deepest sympathies to Ann’s family and to anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

Aside from being one of the most unintentionally famous faces in the world, Cook was an English teacher in Tampa, Florida before she retired as well as a mystery novelist.

Since 2010, Gerber has had an annual photo search to find their newest “spokesbaby” for the company. However, Cook had the honor of becoming the first Gerber baby back in 1928.

She won the contest after a family friend named Dorothy Hope Smith sketched a charcoal portrait of Cook at 5-months-old the year prior and submitted it to the company. Cook’s face eventually became so synonymous with the company that just three years after the sketch was chosen, it became Gerber’s official trademark and has been a fixture in the company’s branding ever since.

Anne Turner Cook
Ann Turner Cook, original Gerber baby based on 1928 sketch of her as 2-yr-old by family friend Dorothy Hope Smith used to launch Gerber baby food ad campaign. James Keyser / Getty Images

In 1978 around Gerber’s 50th anniversary, the company finally revealed that Cook was the original Gerber baby after speculation for years that the face belonged to the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Jayne Seymour.

Back in June 2018, Cook shared an adorable moment with that year’s “spokesbaby,” Lucas, who was 1-year-old at the time. The two Gerber babies got a chance to meet, with Lucas even posing for a photo as Cook held him in her lap.

“As soon as we walked into the room, (Cook) and Lucas immediately bonded,” Lucas’ parents, Cortney and Jason, wrote in a statement to TODAY. “Lucas walked right up to her, flashing his signature smile and waving, and we could tell he loved her right away.”

Lucas’ parents added, “Ann Turner Cook is truly a wonderful woman and pleasure to be around, and we couldn’t be more grateful that she took the time to meet with our family.”