The Gerber baby is turning 90.
Ann Turner Cook, who served as the model for Gerber’s iconic logo, celebrated her ninetieth birthday earlier this year. When she was just four months old, a family friend made a quick charcoal sketch of bright-eyed baby Ann. A short time later, the friend submitted the drawing to Gerber when the company launched a contest to find an official face for their brand.
The sketch was so simple that the family friend included a note saying that if her piece were chosen, she would finish it. Not necessary, said the judges. They loved baby Ann just as she was and decided not to change a thing. This simple rendering of the cherubic face became so synonymous with the Gerber brand that by 1931, it became their official trademark. These days, almost everyone shopping for baby food would recognize this familiar face.
Over the years, Ann Turner Cook’s identity as the Gerber baby was kept secret. The public often speculated that the infant must have grown up to be famous, like Elizabeth Taylor or Jayne Seymour. But in 1978, right around the 50th anniversary of the famous sketch, the identity of Ann’s identity was finally revealed.
While she never basked in the spotlight of Hollywood fame, Ms. Cook has lived a rich life. She is a Tampa native, a retired English teacher, and a writer of mystery novels. And these days, her eyes still sparkle the way they did when she was four months old.
Some things never change.