“Robert C. Norris, a rancher known for his role as the Marlboro Man in television commercials for the cigarette brand, died on Nov. 3 in Colorado Springs,” reports The New York Times, noting that he was 90 years old and that no cause of death was given.
The Times adds, “Mr. Norris, though never a smoker, was featured as a Marlboro Man in commercials that ran for about 14 years in the United States and Europe. He eventually abandoned the campaign because he felt he was setting a bad example for his children, according to his ranch website.”
Norris “was first approached on his ranch after ad executives spotted him in a photo with the actor John Wayne, who was a close friend, his son Bobby Norris told KKTV in Colorado Springs,” the Times notes.
The Times also explains that “The Marlboro Man first appeared in 1955 after the cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company Philip Morris and the advertising agency Leo Burnett Worldwide revamped the cigarette brand. Mr. Norris was one of several men who depicted the Marlboro Man during the decades-long campaign.
“Marlboro was founded as a women’s cigarette brand before it was repositioned as a masculine product with a rugged cowboy feel and personality.”
Here’s the video tribute to Norris that ran on a Gray Television’s KKTV newscast: