06:47 GMT +312 November 2019
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    FILE - In this 17 July 2012 file photo, Marlboro cigarettes are displayed in Montpelier, Vermont

    'Cowboy Killer?': Original 'Marlboro Man' Lives to Ripe Old Age of 90

    © AP Photo / Toby Talbot
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    Robert Norris, the first 'Marlboro Man', known for wearing a cowboy hat while lighting up a cigarette in an iconic advertisement, has died at age 90.

    Robert Norris was an actor who was the "Marlboro Man" in cigarette advertisements before they were banned from television in the 1970s. 

    According to the Tee Cross Ranches he helped co-found, he passed away on 3 November 2019 in Colorado.

    Robert Norris never smoked cigarettes, according to various media reports. His friends included screen luminary John Wayne.

    “He always told us kids, ‘I don’t ever want to see you smoking,’” Norris’s son said, as quoted by the Yahoo Entertainment, “so one of us finally asked, ‘If you don’t want us smoking, why are you doing cigarette commercials?’ He called up Phillip Morris and quit that day.”

    ​The Marlboro brand appeared in 1924 and was initially positioned to target a female audience of smokers. Everything changed in the early 1950s, when the brand began to “turn” towards a male audience. The idea to use the image of a cowboy came to Leo Burnet (executive advertising director of Philip Morris) in 1949, when he spotted eye-catching photographs in Life magazine, shot by Leonard McComb, and read the story of the Texas cowboy Clarence Hailey Long.

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