Original ‘Marlboro Man’ Robert Norris dies aged 90 after never smoking

Robert Norris, who was the original Marlboro Man, has died aged 90.

He became an advertising icon in the 60s as he was plastered across billboards and magazine pages with a cowboy hat on his head and a cigarette in his hand.

Ironically, Robert never lit up a cigarette in real life and never smoked despite being the poster boy for the habit for a generation.

TMZ has reported that he died last Sunday, at his ranch in Colorado Springs.

Legend has it that Norris got his big break by posing in a photograph with actor John Wayne, who was a longtime friend.

Advertising executives were so taken by his look when they saw the photo in a newspaper, they set about tracking him down, eventually finding him at his 63,000-acre ranch in Colorado.

It was deemed that Norris had the perfect cowboy character – genuine and rugged. After being asked to be involved, he ended up 'doing it as a favour' rather than thinking it would be the role that defined him.

For 12 years, Norris was the Marlboro Man but he eventually quit after he thought that the adverts were setting a bad example to children.

Away from his iconic role, Norris was known for being a philanthropist and businessman, as well as being a rancher.

He was also actively involved with rodeo events and was a member of several organisations that promoted the sport.

His wife passed away in 2016 at the age of 88 and Norris is survived by his two sons and two daughters.

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