Gerber Baby Turns 90: “I Can’t Think of Anything Nicer Than to be a Symbol for Babies”

National   Steven Ertelt   May 26, 2014   |   3:12PM    Washington, DC

Ann Turner Cook is 88-years-old and, chances are you have no idea who she is even though you’ve seen her face countless times. She is the iconic Gerber Baby.

5/28/2017 Update: Cook turned 90…

gerberMillions of parents have seen her picture as they give their infants baby food and formula or purchase products with her image on it. And millions of babies over the years have looked at those jars and pointed to the image of the child and announced, “Baby!”

Now Cook, who just turned 90, says in a new interview she is proud to have been the face of the brand and says she can’t think of anything better that to have her likeness associated with something so wholesome and products for infants.

Little did she know just how important that drawing would be, both for the company and for her. ‘I can’t think of anything nicer than to be a symbol for babies,’ the retired English teacher told CBS News. ‘And that’s what I think I became.’

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From the story:

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Cook, now a great-grandmother, still has the same cheerful grin and sparkling eyes that she had as a baby when artist Dorothy Hope Smith, her neighbor in Connecticut, decided to sketch her.

‘I always had that expression with my mouth hanging open,’ laughed Mrs Cook. ‘Kind of a quizzical expression!’

She believes people have identified with the sketch for so many years because ‘it reminds them of their own babies. Everybody says, my baby or my grandchild looks like the Gerber baby. And it doesn’t matter the ethnicity. And I say, “Yes, I’m sure they do!”

Soon after her drawing won the contest, it was featured on every Gerber product and became a symbol of the happy, healthy baby.

In 1931, Gerber trademarked the picture, and in the early 1950s the company paid her a lump sum – ‘enough to make a down payment on a modest house and to buy a first car,’ she says – for her role in the company.