Darrell Winfield, the real Marlboro Man, dies at 85

Marlboro Man Darrell Winfield, shown here in 1979, died Monday at the age of 85.

Story highlights

  • Marlboro Man Darrell Winfield was a real cowboy
  • Winfield was the face of many Marlboro cigarette ads
  • He stayed loyal to the cigarette company until he died

(CNN)Tally-ho, Marlboro Man.

Best known as the rugged cowboy who starred in the Marlboro Man cigarette advertisements, Darrell Winfield died Monday at home in Wyoming at age 85.
His cause of death was not listed in his obituary on a Fremont County, Wyoming, news website.
    Often called the most successful tobacco advertising campaign ever, the Marlboro Man appealed to American men because of his masculinity, individuality and freedom.
    Though some of the Marlboro Men in the famous cigarette advertisements launched in the 1950s were actors, Winfield was the real thing.
    Winfield was working at a Wyoming ranch in 1968 when Leo Burnett/Philip Morris Advertising came looking for real cowboys to feature in the campaign, according to his local obituary.
    He often wore his own clothes and provided many of the animals in the photo shoots.
    "His family said he loved horses, rodeo, especially team roping, ranching, and the cowboy way of life," according to his obituary. "He liked to tease, was quite a character, and never met a stranger. He collected bits and spurs, loved to read western non-fiction, history, and stories of the Native Americans."
    Other Marlboro Men became disillusioned with the campaign, eventually starring in anti-smoking campaigns.
    At least four actors who played the iconic cowboy died of smoking-related illnesses, the Los Angeles Times reported.
    The Marlboro Man's run ended when the tobacco companies and state attorneys general reached a settlement in 1998 that banned the use of humans and cartoons in U.S. tobacco advertising.
    Yet Winfield stayed true to the brand from the time he was hired in 1968 until he died, according to his obituary.
    He is survived by his wife, Lennie, their six children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.