LIFE MAGAZINE COVER 1949 S E R I E S : " W E S T " 2 0 1 8
Russell Young's "The Cowboy" features Clarence Hailey Long Jr., also known as the original Marlboro Man. In 1949, Long was a rugged foreman of the JA Ranch in Texas when Life magazine journalist Leonard McCombe captured the cowboy's iconic portrait while on assignment. The 1949 Life magazine photo then caught the attention of advertising tycoon Leo Burnett, who at an agency creative session, asked his creative team to name the most masculine image they could think of. As Burnett suspected, the cowboy was the winner. Burnett applied this template to his Marlboro campaign in an attempt to market the cigarettes to a male audience. After Leo Burnett's Marlboro Man campaign, the cigarette's sales increased drastically and Clarence Hailey Long Jr.'s image was sensationalized. The then 39-year-old, 150-pound Long was described as a silent man, unassuming and shy, to the point of bashfulness, with a face sunburned to the color of saddle leather wrinkles radiating from pale blue eyes. He wore a ten-gallon Stetson hat, a bandanna around his neck, a bag of Bull Durham tobacco with its yellow string dangling from his pocket, and blue denim, the fabric of the profession. Long was born in Paducah, in the Texas Panhandle. He worked on the 320,000-acre Ranch. Once a week, Long would ride into town for a store-bought shave and a milkshake. He would see a movie if a Western was playing. He said things like, “If it weren’t for a good horse, a woman would be the sweetest thing in the world.” And although his photo advertising Marlboros was viewed by millions, he rolled his own smokes. Long's Marlboro photographs led to marriage proposals from across the nation, all of which he rejected. In 1951, at forty, Long wed the former Ellen Theresa Rogers, and they had five sons together.