Robert Norris, Marlboro Man Who Didn’t Smoke, Dies at 90


A federal ban on television and radio advertisements for cigarettes took effect in 1971, and the Marlboro Man campaign, among others, was discontinued in the late 1990s in the United States as part of a sweeping settlement of litigation brought by nearly all the states against the major tobacco companies.

Barry Vacker, an associate professor of critical media studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, said the Marlboro Man was popular during a turbulent period, emerging amid the Cold War and the rise of rock ’n’ roll and continuing during the civil rights and women’s rights movements.

“The Marlboro Man stood as an iconic symbol, an individual in control of his destiny,” Professor Vacker said. “He was a reassuring figure at the height of our fear of nuclear annihilation and a conservative counter to changing values.”

Mr. Norris was born in Chicago on April 10, 1929, to Dellora and Lester Norris. Many of his relatives were financiers and lawyers. He grew up in St. Charles, Ill., about 40 miles west of Chicago, and attended the University of Kentucky, where he played football.

He married Jane Wright, a recent graduate of DePauw University in Indiana in 1950 and moved to Fort Collins, Colo., in 1953, the year he entered the horse and cattle business. A few years later he bought 20,000 acres and established the Tee Cross Ranch. It eventually expanded to 63,000 acres, and a second ranch was established in Arizona.

Mr. Norris, a philanthropist with an affinity for the arts and animals, served on numerous boards and founded the Colorado Festival of World Theater, according to the ranch website.

In 2003, five baby elephants, which had been orphaned in Zimbabwe, were brought to the ranch. At the urging of his children, Mr. Norris adopted one elephant and named it Amy, a relationship chronicled in a children’s book, “Cowboys Love Elephants Too,” written by his daughter Carole Sondrup.



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