One of the original Marlboro Men, Robert “Bob” Norris, a ruggedly handsome cowboy who rose to fame promoting Marlboro cigarettes, has died. He was 90. He passed away on Nov. 3 in his hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado, surrounded by his family. He had been in hospice care and was suffering from dementia.
The Colorado native is best known for being one of the first to portray the “Marlboro Man” in the cigarette company’s commercials. In the ads, Norris was always featured in a fictional world of ranching, wearing cowboy attire — including his iconic cowboy hat — as he held a cigarette in either his mouth or his hand.
His family said it was “his tall, ruggedly handsome, lanky good looks that landed him the unexpected role,” but despite having a cigarette in his mouth or hand for around 14 years, Norris never smoked a day in his life (maybe why he lived so long?).
“Rather than taking his fame seriously, he enjoyed the adventure,” his obituary reads. “Bob regaled his friends with various misadventures during these shoots, often highlighting the fictional world of television with the real world of ranching he actually lived.”