The Portraits

Staff member working in collections and putting a painting away

Pete Sampras

Milk, What a Surprise!
Annie Leibovitz, born 2 Oct 1949
National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, founded 1993
Peter Sampras, born 12 Aug 1971
Color digital print on paper
Sheet: 80.5 x 59.5 cm (31 11/16 x 23 7/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Chisholm Larsson Gallery, New York City
Restrictions & Rights
© 1995 National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board © Annie Leibovitz
Object number
Exhibition Label
Tennis star Pete Sampras, the number-one-ranked world champion from 1993 to 1998-and eventual seven-time Wimbledon winner-was a fan of the milk mustache ads and volunteered to be a celebrity subject. The famous campaign was launched in 1995 to boost sales by advertising the health benefits of adults drinking milk. From the beginning, the advertising agency used humor to convey its educational message. The photographs by Annie Leibovitz combined sexy bodies with silly faces and conflated notions of childhood (sloppy milk drinking), adulthood (facial hair), and old age (white muscache). The goofy pictures of popular culture stars proved an instant hit, generating publicity, awards, and parodies. The Sampras poster emphasized his superb physique and quirky habit of tossing a towel over his head between sets. But it says more about 1990s celebrity and its commercial potential than about Sampras's actual prowess on the courts.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
United States\New York\Kings\New York