Actor Eric Lawson, once the face of Marlboro cigarettes, has died from respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), at the age of 72.
From 1978 to 1981, Lawson appeared in print ads as “The Marlboro Man,” a rugged cowboy synonymous with the cigarette brand. Throughout his acting career, Lawson also had parts in TV shows The Streets of San Francisco, Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty and Baywatch.
Lawson’s wife, Susan, told Variety that the actor had been a smoker through much of his life, starting at the age of 14, though he quit when he was diagnosed with COPD. “He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,” she said in an interview with Variety. “He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.”
Lawson isn’t the only former face of Marlboro to die from smoking-related diseases. Wayne McLaren, who appeared in Marlboro print ads, died of lung cancer in 1992, and David McLean, who appeared in print and television spots, died of lung cancer in 1995.