An American actor has become the fifth former “Marlboro Man” from the long-running series of cigarette advertisements to die from a smoking-related disease.
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In the 1950s, William Thourlby looked out from billboards and invited smokers to Marlboro Country, said Corey Kilgannon in The New York Times. “I’m the original Marlboro Man,” says the 88-year-old former actor and model.
“But I never smoked or drank, and I was no cowboy.”
Four other stories that succumbed to illnesses linked to smoking:
(Eric Lawson, David Millar, Wayne McLAren, David McLean and Richard Hammer)
Eric Lawson, who portrayed the rugged cowboy character in magazines during the late 1970s and early 1980s, died from a lung condition at his home in San Luis Obispo, California. He was 72.
Mr Lawson, who started smoking when he was 14, suffered respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to his wife, Susan.
In October 1987, David Millar, one of the first Marlboro Men on television screens in the 1950s, died from emphysema at 81 at a hospital near his home in New Hampshire.
Almost five years later, Wayne McLaren died at 51, after a long struggle with lung cancer. In his final years he used his status as a former Marlboro Man to mount a high-profile lawsuit against Philip Morris, which manufactures Marlboros, and warn the public about smoking’s health risks.
“Tobacco will kill you, and I am living proof of it,” were some of his last words, his mother said shortly after his death in California.
David McLean (73) and Richard Hammer (69) , both 1970s Marlboro Men, died from lung cancer in California in the late 1990s.
Mr McLean, who was when he died, reportedly smoked five packets a day at one stage. Mr Hammer died aged 69.
Like Mr McLaren, Mr Lawson criticised smoking later in his career. He appeared in a commercial that parodied Marlboro Man, and discussed on American television the negative effects of smoking.
However, his wife conceded that he was addicted even then:
“He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him. He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.”