Guy On Cream Of Wheat Box Receives Recognition 69 Years After His Death

A campaign to etch Frank L. White’s face and name onto his gravestone has succeeded. White is better known as the smiling chef on the Cream of Wheat box. White, who died in 1938, had only a “tiny concrete marker with no name” for a headstone, until now.

Cream of Wheat savorer and family researcher Jesse Lasorda started the campaign to honor White:

“Everybody deserves a headstone,” Lasorda told the Lansing State Journal. He discovered that White was born about 1867 in Barbados, came to the U.S. in 1875 and became a citizen in 1890.

When White died Feb. 15, 1938, the Leslie Local-Republican described him as a “famous chef” who “posed for an advertisement of a well-known breakfast food.”

Still without proper recognition, Uncle Ben. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

‘Cream of Wheat’ man gets grave marker [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
(Photo: AP – Paul Sancya)


Edit Your Comment

  1. bdgbill says:

    Recognition for what?

    Does anyone really think that a single person has ever bought Cream of Wheat because that particular face was on the box?

  2. Hoss says:

    @bdgbill: Count me in as thinking this is more about black history than commercial success. Amazing that his likeness from 1900 is a handsome black man and not a lame caricature.

  3. thewriteguy says:

    I for one think this is an interesting piece of pop culture trivia to learn. I would have thought that the Cream of Wheat man was based on no one — that he was just a fictitious drawing (like Betty Crocker or Aunt Jemina). Kudos to the person who researched this.

  4. faust1200 says:

    Talk about the epitome of ‘too little too late’ Check it: Your image gets stolen over 100 years ago and put on about a bazillion boxes of cream of (puke) wheat for over 100 years and what do you get? A marked grave!… after 70 years of being dead. Woot?

  5. Trai_Dep says:

    Not true, Faust. He got a great gig later starring in The Shining.

  6. says:

    @thewriteguy: I always liked the Cream of Wheat guy, but I thought he was fictitious too! Neat to know there was a real person behind the face.

  7. faust1200 says:

    @trai_dep: What do you know about room 237?

  8. Hermann Mazard says:

    I was so pleased to hear this story.

    Black folks have been feeding white folks for a long time. In the 1900s, brand management was a fledgling industry and many companies leveraged the trustworthiness of black servants to gain confidence for their brands. I strongly suspect Mr. Frank L. White’s ability to inspire the public trust is the reason he is still on the label today.