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Original 'Gerber Baby' celebrates 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.

TAMPA, Fla. — The original Gerber baby celebrated a milestone birthday this weekend.

Cook was born on Nov. 20, 1926, making her 95 years young.

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

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

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 company said on its website.

For years, the Gerber baby's identity was a mystery, with guesses ranging from Humphrey Bogart to Elizabeth Taylor and even Bob Dole, the company said.

In 1978, the baby was revealed to be Ann Turner Cook.

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

Cook went on to become a mystery novelist and English teacher, according to the University of South Florida College of Education.

Gerber celebrated Cook's birthday with a Facebook post on Saturday.

Happy 95th birthday to the original Gerber baby!

A very happy birthday to the original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook! 🎈 Ann, who turns 9️⃣5️⃣ today, has graced Gerber products since 1928. Her image has inspired parents everywhere to share their babies' photos with Gerber. 💬💙 Join us in wishing Ann a happy birthday and a wonderful year ahead! #AnythingforBaby

Posted by Gerber on Thursday, November 18, 2021

Earlier this year, the latest Gerber baby was named. Zane Kahin was picked to be the new Gerber baby out of more than 90,000 photo submissions. He'll also serve as the company's first-ever "Chief Growing Officer" and receive a $25,000 cash prize and free Gerber products for up to a year.  

Gerber first launched the photo search in 2010 for parents to see their little ones in Gerber's iconic baby logo. The contest celebrates babies and families from all backgrounds.

RELATED: Newest Gerber baby announced after nationwide contest

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