Betty Crocker was created by the Washburn Crosby Company, a milling interest that produced Gold Medal Flour and a predecessor to General Mills, to help personalize the increasingly numerous responses it received for cooking advice. Named for a former director of the company, William G. Crocker, with a first name selected for its friendly appeal and a signature chosen in a contest among the female staff, Betty Crocker was born. Betty was given a voice, or voices, when the company began a radio cooking program in 1924 that quickly expanded across the country, each with its own Betty. By 1945, Betty Crocker had become one of the most recognized female names in the country, surpassed only by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Like her voice and name, the visage of Betty Crocker is also a composite of various likenesses. Her first official portrait was painted in 1936 and was an amalgam of different staff members of the Home Service Department and her 1996 update was a computerized composite of 75 women who met the characteristics of the ideal Betty Crocker.