Marlboro Man Darrell Hugh Winfield Dies At Age 85

Long-standing Marlboro Man Darrel Hugh Winfield has died. The 85-year-old horse rancher was featured in cigarette ads for nearly two decades. Although he was not the first Marlboro Man, Winfield was certainly the most recognizable.

As stated in his obituary, which is provided by County 10, Winfield passed away on Monday at his Riverton, Wyoming, home. He is survived by his wife Lennie, six children, and “numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren.”

Marlboro cigarettes were initially marketed toward women, as they were developed to be mild and smooth. However, in an effort to boost sales, Leo Burnett envisioned a new campaign geared toward men.

The Marlboro Man campaign featured images of rugged men smoking the popular cigarettes. The original models depicted athletes, business executives, and sea captains. With the introduction of the new campaign, sales of Marlboro cigarettes increased 300 percent between 1955 and 1957.

Although the campaign fared well, Phillip Morris executives wanted their ads to be more authentic. As reported by Whizz Past, the company eventually hired Darrell Winfield — a real cowboy.

As the Marlboro Man, Winfield appeared in numerous print and television advertisements from 1968 until the early 1980s. As discussed in his obituary, Winfield “remained loyal” to Leo Burnett/Philip Morris “from 1968 to the time of his death.”

In addition to his work with Marlboro, Winfield owned and ran the WD/Winfield horse ranch. He was hard-working, humble, and above all else, devoted to his family.

“… he loved horses, rodeo… and the cowboy way of life. 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… He loved to play Gin Rummy and Backgammon with his family and friends.”

The former Marlboro Man also had a keen interest in Native American history and culture. As he often participated in Native American celebrations, and built his own sweat lodge, local natives gave him the nickname “Strong Mountain.”

As reported by USA Today, Phillip Morris representative Jeff Caldwell offered condolences to Winfield’s friends and family. However, he said Phillip Morris does “not have any statements to offer on his passing.”

Darrel Hugh Winfield’s obituary did not mention his cause of death. However, at least three other Marlboro Men have died of smoking-related illness. Wayne Mclaren died of lung cancer 1992 at the age of 51, David McLean died of lung cancer in 1995 at the age of 73, and Eric Lawson died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2014 at the age of 72.

[Image via Poster Collection]