The lengthy anonymity of the Gerber child additionally ensured that there was at least one pretender to the throne. In the Forties, one household sued the firm, claiming that its baby was the child on the label. Testifying in court docket, Ms. Smith disclosed her mannequin’s id, and the go well with was determined in Gerber’s favor.
Ms. Cook, who had been conscious of her position since early childhood, saved her personal counsel. After shifting together with her household to Orlando, Fla., in the late Nineteen Thirties, she earned a bachelor’s diploma in English from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, adopted by a grasp’s in the subject from the University of South Florida. She taught junior excessive and highschool English, changing into the division chairwoman of Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla.
As a younger trainer, Ms. Cook, afraid of the beautiful model of disdain at which adolescents excel, selected by no means to reveal her childish id. Only in the late Seventies, with Gerber’s commemoration of the drawing’s fiftieth anniversary, did she publicly reveal herself as its topic. Her college students, she later mentioned, had been intrigued.
Ms. Cook’s husband, James Cook, a criminologist who was a serious with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, died in 2004. Her survivors embody three daughters, Jan Cook, Carol Legarreta and Kathy Cook; a son, Clifford; eight grandchildren; and 9 great-grandchildren.
After retiring from instructing, Ms. Cook wrote a sequence of self-published crime novels. She grew amiably reconciled to life as the Gerber child, granting interviews and showing on the tv quiz present “To Tell the Truth.”
Bogart was a small lingering irritant, however he might be borne.
Ms. Cook’s long-ago likeness stays a cultural touchstone to at the present time. In current years, Gerber, now a subsidiary of Nestlé, has held an annual babies’ photo contest, awarding a grand prize of $25,000 and utilizing the winner in its promoting.
Once she recognized herself as the Gerber child — and as the mom of 4 besides — Ms. Cook left herself open to a query that she needed to reply cagily. She gave simply such a solution when The Globe and Mail, the Canadian newspaper, put the query to her in a 1987 interview:
Did she feed her personal kids Gerber child meals?
There was a slight pause.
“Not exclusively,” Ms. Cook replied.