This stylized likeness of the Colonel serves as its logo and mascot of his restaurant chain.
Colonel Harland David Sanders (September 9, 1890 - December 16, 1980), better known as Colonel Sanders, was the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). His picture appears on their boxes to this day, and a stylized cartoon version of his face is a trademark of the corporation.
Harland Sanders was born on September 9, 1890 in Henryville, Indiana. His father died when he was six years old, and since his mother worked, he was forced to cook for his family. During the teen years of his life, Sanders worked many jobs, including fireman, steamboat driver, insurance salesman, and a private in Cuba.
At the age of 40, Sanders made chicken for people who passed by his service station in Corbin, Kentucky. He didn't have a restaurant then, but served the diners in his living quarters in the service station. Eventually, his local popularity grew, and Harland moved to a motel and restaurant that seated 142 people and began working as a chef. Over the next nine years he perfected his method of cooking chicken that used the 11 herbs and spices used today at KFC. He was made an honorary Kentucky colonel in 1935 by Governor Ruby Laffoon.
Sanders was forced to sell his property in order to make way for Interstate 75. He lived off of his Social Security checks, and based his entire career off his ability to cook. Confident of the quality of his fried chicken, the Colonel devoted himself to the chicken franchising business that he started in 1952. He traveled across the country by car from restaurant to restaurant, cooking batches of chicken for restaurant owners and their employees. If the reaction was favorable, he entered into a handshake agreement on a deal that stipulated a payment to him of a nickel for each chicken the restaurant sold. His devoted work turned his small business, Kentucky Fried Chicken, into one of the largest fast food chains in existence.
Sanders, after retiring as a cook, became the company spokesman. He appeared in many of his company's television commercials. Sanders died at the age of 90 on December 16, 1980 of leukemia, and was buried in his famous white suit and bow tie in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
A cartoon version of Colonel Sanders appears in the company's more recent television commercials.