First of all, who actually is the world's most famous baby? No, it's not Prince George, although he definitely did get a lot of attention in the news. More attention than you're going to probably ever get from the internet.
While you let that sad news soak in, we'll just move on to the actual most famous baby there ever was.
Oh, yes, this baby. The Gerber Baby doesn't need introduction anywhere. She could get into all the clubs without being on the guest list. Oh, except for the fact that, you know, she's a baby. The Gerber Baby was first introduced in 1928, which, if you do that math, you'll know was a long time ago.
This little baby's name is Ann Turner Cook, and she was five months old when she became the Gerber Baby. However, her identity was kept a secret for 40 years. Some people speculated that the baby was Jane Seymour, Elizabeth Taylor, or even Bob Dole. But no, it was Cook.
In 1928, Gerber had a contest to find the face of a baby to advertise their baby food campaign. Dorothy Hope Smith entered this sketch of her neighbor's baby. She said that if she won, she'd complete the sketch and color it in. Well, of course, she did win. But the judges liked the simplicity of the sketch, so it remains the same today as it was back then - a sketch.
Meet Ann Turner Cook, who you've actually been seeing on Gerber products for decades. She is ninety-one-years-old, and still going strong. We wouldn't necessarily stop her on the streets in recognition, but we think she still maintained some of that youthful glow.
On a Facebook post, Gerber commemorated Cook's birthday, which was on November 20th. This prompted many people to share photos of their own babies, some hoping that Gerber would notice them. Gerber commented, "all the babies appearing in our ads are actually professional models who are clients of modeling agencies." Seems like it's a little more difficult to become the Gerber baby nowadays.
Cook grew up to be an English teacher. It seems only fitting, then, that she also became a mystery novelist. She wrote a series of books, which are highly praised on Amazon. The first is called Trace Their Shadows.
Cook is a great-grandmother, and has four children. She said that when her kids were young, the bragged about their mother whenever they went down the baby food aisle. You'd probably tell all your friends, too.
Cook did not report how much she was paid, if any, for her likeness. Her face has been used on the company's products for over nine decades. After winning the contest, Cook didn't have an extended amount of contact with the company.
In 1950, someone else came forward claiming to be the Gerber baby. It's probably not a difficult claim to make, considering babies sort of all look a little bit similar. However, Gerber called on Cook to settle the identity issue.
Cook came forward and proved her identity as the Gerber baby to settle the false claim. Gerber paid her a lump sum to put the matter to rest. Cook didn't report how much she was paid, but she did mention that it was enough money to purchase a car and put a down payment on a house.
Cook currently lives in a retirement home in Florida. "She loves spending time with her son and daughters," said Bernadette Tortorella, a spokesperson for Nestle, which is owned by Gerber. She added that Cook is "as mentally sharp as ever."
Cook is now passing her childhood title on to another generation. 300,000 parents entered their children into a nationwide contest to find the next Gerber baby, who will not replace the original Gerber baby, but run in a series of ad campaigns. Mary Jane Montoy from Fresno, California, took the prize.
"She is just adorable, and she is a delightful little person," said cook of Montoy. Montoy appeared in the Gerber ads, and also won a $50,000 dollar cash prize for being selected. Her parents said that they will be using it towards her education.
"It’s been wonderful to me to be the symbol for babies and I've become a symbol worldwide for babies. I can always be very proud of the product," said Cook of Gerber. Well, we hope so, because it would be kind of a bummer to have your face all over a product you didn't like. Happy birthday, Ms. Cook, here's to many more.