The first real-life cowboy who held a Marlboro cigarette in his hand, and played the role of the “Marlboro Man” — even though he wasn’t a smoker — has died.
Robert Norris, who played the advertising icon for a dozen years, reportedly died last Sunday at his ranch in Colorado Springs.
As the story goes, ad execs noticed Norris in a newspaper photo with his longtime friend — an actor by the name of John Wayne — and tracked him down at his 63,000-acre ranch in Colorado.
They thought he was perfect for the rugged, genuine cowboy character, and according to a friend … he did it as a favor. This was in the ’60s, and Bob appeared in magazines, commercials and billboards for the cigarette company for the next 12 years.
Strangely enough, Norris never smoked in his life, and he eventually quit the campaign because he thought he was setting a bad example for children.
Robert was a popular figure in his hometown, known for being a philanthropist and businessman along with a rancher. He was also actively involved in helping several rodeo organizations.
He’s survived by his 2 sons and 2 daughters. His wife passed in 2016 at age 88.
Norris was 90 … so saying no to cigs seemed to serve him well.
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