The Hollywood Reporter confirmed on Thursday that actor Brad Johnson died in February due to complications from COVID-19.  

He was best known to many for his role in Steven Spielberg’s 1989 fantasy-drama Always, in which he and Richard Dreyfuss both vie for the heart of Holly Hunter. (Bad news for Richard, he’s actually a ghost.) 

Johnson worked consistently in television and cable movies throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, and was the co-lead in the Left Behind series. He was 62 years old.  

The Arizona-born Johnson was raised on a cattle ranch, and quit business school just shy of his degree to  accept a rodeo scholarship at the College of Southern Idaho. He worked  on the rodeo circuit full time, but injured his knee in 1986.  

The 6’3”, square-jawed fella then found work as a model, representing Calvin Klein, Busch beer, and, yes, Marlboro cigarettes.  

“The Marlboro Man was a fixture in American culture. For the longest  time he was on the same level as 007,” Johnson reflected about his  position in tar-stained American folklore for MEL Magazine in 2019. 

He confessed, however, that he never was a smoker. “I lit a million of them, though,” he said. Always was Johnson’s first substantial acting gig, and while it didn’t catapult him to superstardom, 

he was rarely without work, appearing in films like The Philadelphia Experiment II and on episodes of the Outer Limit reboot. He starred opposite Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe in John Milius’s Flight of the Intruder in 1991, 

and was Daphne Zuniga’s love interest Dr. Dominick O’Malley on the mid-‘90s nighttime soap Melrose Place. (If you recall, there was a big to-do about him leaving for Bosnia, and whether or not Jo Reynolds should join him.)  

In the late 1990s he led the syndicated action series Soldier of Fortune, Inc. the first Simpson/Bruckheimer production for television. Its second and final season co-starred Dennis Rodman.