The “Real Life” Marlboro Man Died on Monday

Before people knew cigarettes were deadly and when Marlboro could still advertise cigarettes were chic, there were many, many “Marlboro Men.” But Darrel Winfield was the OG Marlboro Man, the first cowboy who truly embodied the “smoke free, die young” ethos of Marlboro.

Funny enough, Winfield lived to the age of 85 until he passed away on Monday. The cause of death was not released, and given Winfield lived to 85, he’s a) living proof that cigarettes don’t kill quite everyone prematurely and b) his death was probably related to his legendary persona in the form of a lung ailment (at least four other Marlboro Men died from cigarette smoking).

And according to his obituary, “Winfield stayed true to the brand from the time he was hired in 1986 until he died.” Which means he knew he was doing something completely bad for himself, but he couldn’t stop, as this paranoid image of the Marlboro Man illustrates:

The OG Marlboro Man

We can’t hate on Winfield–he was a cowboy growing up in an era when it was considered okay to smoke cigarettes–but we can hate on Phillip Morris for perpetuating an image that took many lives prematurely.

Moreover, I kind of view this death as a death of the era of cigarettes, and the picture above illustrates that. People used to have to be worried about getting caught smoking weed, throwing sideways glances around. Now, people smoking cigarettes walk around buildings and hide from their parents while weed smokers blaze up loud and proudly!

RIP to this Marlboro Man, but may the Marlboro Man myth continue to die a quiet death.

What I want to know: who will be the first “Marijuana Man” and what brand will he be attached to? If I had my pick of the celebrity smoking litter, the “Marijuana Man” would probably be Brad Pitt or look something like his character in True Romance.

But I would be totally cool with a Jack Johnson type (surfer bro) or a Kevin Hart type (funny black dude) taking marijuana mainstream. Let’s just avoid the Aaron Hernandez’s of this world.

Who would you make the “Marijuana Man?”



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