Gerber Baby Dies At 96

The face behind Gerber’s baby food, Ann Turner Cook, dies at 96 years old.

Gerber Baby

Dorothy Gerber spent a lot of time straining solid foods for her 7-month-old baby, Sally, and called for her husband, Dan, to try it. After a few attempts, he suggested that it would be easier for him to do it at the canning plant he worked for in Fremont, Michigan.

Before long, employees were requesting samples for their babies, and it was then that Gerber Baby Foods was born.

Nestlé owns Gerber Products Company.

Ann Turner Cook, The Original Gerber Baby

Ann Leslie Turner was born in Westport, Connecticut, and was the daughter of syndicated cartoonist Leslie Turner, who, for decades, drew comics for Captian Easy. The family’s neighbor and artist, Dorothy Hope Smith, sketched in charcoal a picture of Turner when she was just 5 months old and in 1928 submitted it to Gerber after they announced the company was looking for baby images for its upcoming line of baby food.

Ann Turner Cook’s very popular face was trademarked in 1931 and has since been placed on their baby products since. It wasn’t until 1978 that Cook’s identity was revealed.

Early in Cook’s career, she taught at an elementary and middle school in Florida, then in 1996, joined the English Department of Tampa’s Hillsborough High School, where she rose to chairwoman. Her students knew her as a great communicator and a hard worker.

After she retired, she became a novelist of a series of mystery novels set on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Cook was married to James Cook, a criminologist with the Hillsborough County Sherrif’s office, until he passed in 2004. They had four children.

Gerber’s Baby Face Mystery

Throughout the years, before the 1970s when Cook’s name was revealed as the Gerber baby, rumors swirled about who it could be. Guesses included Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor.

You can watch more about the Gerber baby here.

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