Darrell Winfield passed away in Wyoming at the ripe age of 85. You know him better as one of the original Marlboro Men. Apparently there were a few of them, at least four of whom died from lung cancer. Winfield’s cause of death has not been revealed to the public. Phillip Morris offered no comment.
At one point, Winfield was the most portrayed man in the world. The face of Marlboro from 1968 until 1989, he was “The Marlboro Man” for most of living memory. Winfield was the genuine article: He lived the cowboy lifestyle, from roping to ranching to rodeos. Tell that to the people who scoff at the Marlboro Men as some kind of Village People-style caricature of masculinity.
Winfield in 1968 and 1985
Marlboro used Winfield’s iconic status for public relations even after he’d stopped appearing in ads. When fellow Marlboro Man Wayne McLaren testified in favor of more restrictive laws on smoking, Phillip Morris claimed he wasn’t the Marlboro Man—that title belonged to Winfield and Winfield alone. Winfield stated in 1986 that his life would have been mostly the same had he never appeared in a Marlboro ad.
The Marlboro Men were part of a marketing campaign to make filtered cigarettes more appealing to men. The company’s previous campaign advertised the smokes as being “mild as May.”