Original Gerber Baby Ann Turner Cook Dead at 95: 'Her Smile Captured Hearts Everywhere'

Ann Turner Cook was just five months old when a sketch of her face was entered into the national contest

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
Ann Turner Cook. Photo: Gerber Instagram

The woman whose face graced Gerber baby food jars for decades has died. She was 95.

The baby food and products brand announced the death of Ann Turner Cook on Instagram last Friday.

"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. The post featured two pictures of Cook – one as an older woman, and the adorable, iconic sketch from her baby days.

"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 post continued. "We extend our deepest sympathies to Ann's family and to anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her 💙"

Ann Taylor Cook, poses at her Tampa, Fla., home Wednesday afternoon Feb. 4, 2004, with a copy of her photo that is used on all Gerber baby food products
Ann Turner Cook. CHRIS O'MEARA/AP/Shutterstock

Over 90 years ago, Cook was chosen as the face of Gerber after her neighbor Dorothy Hope Smith sketched and entered her image in a national contest for the baby food brand, the Associated Press reported. She was just five months old when her picture was drawn.

In 1931 it became Gerber's official trademark, according to the company's website.

However, the baby's identity remained a secret for 40 years, with some speculating that those big round eyes belonged to Humphrey Bogart or Elizabeth Taylor.

Cook spoke to PEOPLE about her unconventional fame in 1976, saying, "It's not anything I did myself."

"I'm more proud of having earned my master's degree after 13 years as a housewife, of having worked my way up to chairman of the English department of a large high school, and of my 29-year marriage," she added at the time, sharing that she fed all four of her children Gerber food when they were babies.

In this photo provided by Gerber, Ann Turner Cook, whose baby face launched the iconic Gerber logo, arrives at NBC's Today Show to announce the winner of the 2012 Gerber Generation Photo Search on in New York City
Ann Turner Cook. Amy Sussman/AP/Shutterstock

In 2010, Gerber launched a Photo Search contest, inspired by the "countless photos sent by parents who see their little ones in" Gerber's logo, the company said in a statement. Each year a panel of judges pick a winner.

In May, Gerber named Isa Slish of Edmond, Oklahoma as the winner of this year's competition. The bright-eyed baby girl will serve as 2022 Gerber Spokesbaby and take on the adorable and vital role of Chief Growing Officer (CGO) on Gerber's Executive Committee.

"We knew Isa was special, she has shown us that every day since she came into our lives," Isa's mother, Meredith Slish explained in a press release. "We found out when I was 18 weeks pregnant that Isa would be born without a femur or a fibula in her right leg."

"We hope Isa's story can bring more awareness for limb differences and create greater inclusion for children like her. Because, just like Isa, they too can be or do anything they want!" she said.

For the first time this year, Gerber will match Isa's cash prize with a $25,000 donation to the nonprofit March of Dimes' maternal and infant health programs.

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