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Original 'Gerber Baby,' Tampa native celebrating 93rd birthday

Ann Turner Cook was born on Nov. 20, 1926.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
Ann Taylor Cook, poses at her Tampa, Fla., home Wednesday afternoon Feb. 4, 2004, with a copy of her photo that is used on all Gerber baby food products.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The original Gerber baby and Tampa native Ann Turner Cook is celebrating a birthday Wednesday.

Cook was born on Nov. 20, 1926, making her 93 years young.

In 1928, Gerber held a contest to find a face for the baby food advertising campaign. An artist named Dorothy Hope Smith entered the now-famous sketch, done in charcoal, to the contest. 

When she submitted it, the sketch wasn't even completed and Smith wrote she would finish it if it won.

Credit: Gerber/Facebook
Gerber wished their original baby-face, Ann Turner Cook, a Happy Birthday on Facebook

The judges for the contest fell in love with the sketch as it was and an icon was born. In 1931, the baby sketch was adopted as Gerber's official trademark, appearing on all of the company's packaging and in every advertisement since then.

The artist who drew Cook was a friend of the Turner family.

Cook went on to become a mystery novelist and English teacher.

And if you're wondering, unless your baby gets a contract with a professional modeling agency, they probably won't become the next Gerber Baby. The company regularly responds to such inquiries on their social media, saying all of their publicity is handled by an unnamed agency. 

Gerber said all the babies appearing in their advertisements are actually professional models who are clients of modeling agencies.

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