Starting with our Barbados Sweetheart: Claudette Colbert
There was a time not so long ago when smoking was considered “calming” and “healthy for the nerves”. The criminals who ran the tobacco companies knew for decades that smoking was killing millions of people through cancer, heart and lung diseases – but the almighty dollar was far more important than mass murder (for that is what they did).
Through advertising, cigarette placement in movies, the embracing of smoking as women’s liberation (“You’ve come a long way, baby.”), political activism and distributing “kiddy packs” of cigarettes to minors, the tobacco companies made new addicts and staved off product and advertising bans until the tide turned in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Here are some fabulous movie star tobacco advertisements we found at the Stanford School of Medicine’s exhibit “Not a Cough in a Carload“. Many of these folks died of lung disease, heart failure and cancer – but some lived to 90 and 100 years old. Here is Shona’s list of the Top 10 Dead Movie Star Cigarette Advertisements…
Number 10 – Barbados Sweetheart Claudette Colbert
Claudette Colbert – Lived 92 years, died in Speightstown, Barbados in 1996.
Number 9 – Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball – Died aged 77 of a ruptured aorta
Number 8 – Jean Harlow
Jean Harlow – Lived 26 years, Died of Renal failure (kidney failure)
Number 7 – Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson died at age 59 of AIDS
Number 6 – Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper – Died of lung cancer at age 60
Number 5 – Bob Hope
Bob Hope – Died aged 100 years old
Number 4 – Betty Grable
Betty Grable – Died age 56 of lung cancer.
Number 3 – Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra died at age 82 of a heart attack.
Number 2 – Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor died at 57 years old of lung cancer. Taylor was a chain smoker.
Number 1 – Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan – Died at age 93 with Alzheimer’s Disease.