WASHINGTON - A cowboy who became one of the most recognizable faces of Philip Morris tobacco's iconic "Marlboro Man" advertizing campaigns has died, funeral home officials said Thursday.
Darrell Winfield, 85, passed away on Monday at his home in the western state of Wyoming, a statement from the Davis Funeral home said.
No cause of death was given for the actor, who remained an active cowboy throughout most of his life, even after he was propelled to stardom as the face of Marlboro in 1968.
For many, Winfield remained the embodiment of the sort of rugged, down-to-earth, pioneering outdoorsman that the Marlboro Man was designed to represent.
"You could look at the different cowboys that we've used and you could argue that they were all the Marlboro Man," a Philip Morris spokesman told The New York Times in 1992. "But Darrell is really the Marlboro Man." An obituary on the funeral home website quoted Winfield as saying that his life would have been "basically the same" had he not been discovered and recruited to front the famous cigarette campaign.
"His family said he loved horses, rodeo, especially team roping, ranching and the cowboy way of life," a statement said.
Other actors who have played the "Marlboro Man" are believed to have died from illnesses linked to tobacco.
The father of six is survived by his wife and children.