Darrell Winfield, a rancher who became the face of masculinity for an American tobacco company, died Jan. 12 in Wyoming at age 85.
Winfield was working on a ranch in Pinedale, Wyo., in 1968 when he was discovered by the Leo Burnett advertising agency for Philip Morris. His face became ubiquitous with the brand, as it tried to market cigarettes to men by presenting them with images of rugged masculinity in magazine and television ads.
Since the 1950s, Marlboro Men have been played by a slate of real ranchers and actors. For Winfield, however, it was no act.
He worked as a model and an assistant on commercial shoots, all the while maintaining his life as a rancher. But without the bright advertising agency lights, his “life would have basically been the same,” he once said.
Marlboro Men and all that they stood for — cigarettes as a symbol of hard work, toughness and attractiveness — are a thing of the past. The darker legacy of cigarette smoking has remained, however.
At least four of the Marlboro Men have died of smoking-related illnesses, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It is unclear how Winfield died, but he suffered from a “lengthy illness” and had been in hospice care at his home, according to a Wyoming news organization.
He remained “loyal” to the Philip Morris brand until his death, his obituary said.
A spokesman for Philip Morris offered condolences to Winfield’s family but said the company did not have any comment on his death.
Winfield is survived by his wife, Lennie L. Spring, their six children and several grandchildren.