One of the original actors to portray the “Marlboro Man” has passed away at the age of 85.
Darrell Winfield of Riverton, WY played the rugged cowboy figure with a ubiquitous Marlboro hanging from his lips in advertisements for two decades spanning the late 1960s through the late 1980s. The Marlboro Man figure was the brunt of much criticism for romanticizing cigarette smoking and for portraying the habit as a characteristic of rugged and masculine individuals.
According to USA Today, Winfield’s image as a rough and tumble westerner was no act:
Winfield’s obituary says, “He loved horses, rodeo, especially team roping, ranching, and the cowboy way of life.”
The “Marlboro Man” was almost a caricature of masculinity. The rugged cowboys were used in magazine and television advertisements from the 1950s to late 1990s in an effort to make filtered cigarettes more appealing to men.
The toughened portrayal of a man having a smoke was officially stubbed out after the Master Settlement Agreement between tobacco companies and state attorney generals imposed restrictions on marketing of cigarettes and prohibited the use of humans or cartoons in cigarette commercials.
The cause of Winfield’s death has not been revealed at this time, but last year the LA Times reported that at least four of the former Marlboro Men had succumbed to smoking-related illnesses.