Rye's own Marlboro Man is dead at age 90.
George Weissman, who joined Phillip Morris as a PR man in 1952 and rose to become its chief executive in 1978, died July 24th at age 90. Weissman lived on Manursing Way in a home designed by architect Ulrich Franzen. Franzen also designed the Philip Morris building at 100 Park Avenue.
Weissman grew Philip Morris from an obscure company and is credited with nuturing the company's commitment to the arts. Baruch College has a terrific write-up on Weissman (scroll down) and The New York Times carried an extensive obituary:
"In an interview with Forbes in 1983, he said that giving to the arts also impressed customers, and that more people go to museums than ballgames…
When Mr. Weissman became chairman and chief executive of Philip Morris in 1978, he told Fortune magazine that he saw himself as the quintessential Marlboro man.
“I’m no cowboy and I don’t ride horseback,” he said, “but I like to think I have the freedom the Marlboro man exemplifies. He’s the man who doesn’t punch a clock. He’s not computerized. He’s a free spirit.”
Mr. Weissman had few compunctions about describing his own habits. “Forty cigarettes a day, one or two beers and I also drink some wine,” he said in a press conference in Paris in 1980."