Robert Norris, known as the Marlboro man, died last Sunday at his ranch in Colorado Springs, at the age of 90. The cause of his death is still unknown. He lived so long because he had never smoked.
Norris had been the brand ambassador of Marlboro for 12 years. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, but left his homeland to achieve his greatest dream: to be a cowboy.
In 1954 the idea of the “Marlboro man” was created: a tough cowboy who smoked cigarettes. Firstly the company cooperated with professional models, however, for authenticity purposes they needed to find real cowboys.
And suddenly the company representatives saw a picture of Norris posing with his good friend, actor John Wayne, in a newspaper. A short time later they went to meet him at his ranch in Colorado.
“They got out of their car, these guys in their striped suits, and said, ‘Would you like to be in Marlboro cigarette commercials?’ He said, “Well, I’m a little busy right now. Why don’t you come back next week and, if you’re serious, we’ll talk?” They returned the following week,”Bobby Norris said.
For advertising, they took more than 2,000 photographs, and only some were distributed throughout the United States and the European continent.
“He always told us: ‘I don’t want to see you smoke again.’ Then, one of us finally asked: ‘If you don’t want us to smoke, why do you make cigarette commercials?’ He called Phillip Morris and resigned that day”Bobby Norris recalled.
Norris continued his work on the ranch where he liked to be so much, and raised his animals, and even adopted an elephant baby, Amy.
Norris was a popular figure in the town where he lived, as he was a well-known philanthropist and businessman, and also actively participated in helping several rodeo organizations.
Did you know about Robert Norris before?