Ann Turner Cook dies at 95; Her face has sold baby food by the billions
Baby Gerber’s long anonymity also ensured that there was at least one pretender to the throne. In the 1940s, a family sued the company, claiming that their son was the baby on the label. Testifying in court, Ms. Smith revealed the identity of her model and the lawsuit was decided in Gerber’s favor.
Ms. Cook, who was aware of her role from early childhood, kept her advice. After moving with her family to Orlando, Florida in the late 1930s, she earned a BA in English from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, followed by a masters in the field from the University of South Florida. She taught English in middle and high schools, becoming the department chair at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida.
As a young teacher, Ms. Cook, fearful of the exquisite contempt that teenagers excel at, chose never to reveal her childhood identity. Only in the late 1970s, with Gerber’s commemoration of the drawing’s 50th anniversary, did she publicly reveal herself as the subject. Her students, she later said, were intrigued.
Cook’s husband, James Cook, a criminologist who was a specialist in the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, died in 2004. She had a son, Clifford, and, in addition to Jan, two other daughters with him, Carol and Kathy. Complete information on his survivors was not immediately available.
After retiring from teaching, Ms. Cook wrote a series of self-published detective novels. She has reconciled amiably with her life as little Gerber, giving interviews and appearing in the TV quiz “To Tell the Truth”.
Bogart was a persistent little irritant, but he could be endured.
Ms. Cook’s long-ago likeness remains a cultural touchstone to this day. In recent years, Gerber, now a subsidiary of Nestlé, has held a annual photo contest for childrenby awarding a first prize of $ 25,000 and using the winner in its advertisement.
Once she identified herself as the little girl Gerber – and a mother of four to top it off – Mrs Cook was left open to a question she had to answer cautiously. She gave just such an answer when The Globe and Mail, the Canadian newspaper, asked her the question in a 1987 interview:
Did you feed your children Gerber baby food?
There was a slight pause.
“Not exclusively,” Ms. Cook replied.