Entertainment

Every Actor Who's Played Colonel Sanders, Ranked  

Joe Gallois
81 votes 21 voters 15 items

List Rules Celebrities in TV commercials only.

In 2015, KFC created one of the most popular evergreen ad campaigns that is still running to this day. The fast-food giant started casting different actors and comedians to play their beloved founder Colonel Sanders every few months - with some pretty hilarious results. Audiences fell in love with the commercials and fans quickly turned to the internet to uncover which new actor was hiding behind the trademark white suit, black-rimmed glasses, and quintessential Southern drawl.

Colonel Sanders is right up there with Ronald McDonald as the world’s most recognizable mascots. The trademark white hair, black-rimmed glass, and classic suit are all ingredients that have helped make the Colonel a star. From comedians like Norm Macdonald and Jim Gaffigan to pro athletes like Dolph Ziggler (and even a few country stars and A-list actors thrown in for good measure), this list ranks all the KFC Colonel actors.

Since Darrell Hammond, the Colonel has become the James Bond of the ad world, with a continuously rotating cast of performers putting their own spin on the classic role. Which version of the Colonel is your favorite? Vote up your favorite KFC Colonels so fans can see which actors played him best.

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Darrell Hammond was the Colonel that started it all back in May 2015. The SNL alum was completely unrecognizable when he first appeared in the ads. Hammond played up the southern drawl of the Colonel while adding a little uneasiness to the character. You could even say that Hammond set the tone for what was to come for every colonel that followed. 

Age: 63

Birthplace: Melbourne, Florida, USA

More Darrell Hammond

#26 of 96 on The Best SNL Cast Members of All Time #57 of 70 on The Most Successful Saturday Night Live Alumni #11 of 46 on The Best SNL Cast Members of the '90s #13 of 30 on The Best SNL Cast Members of the '00s

Are they a finger-lickin' good Colonel?
see more on Darrell Hammond
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

As far back as Ray Liotta can remember, he always wanted to be a KFC Colonel. While that may not be entirely true, the Goodfellas star did get the chance to portray him back in September 2017. Liotta got to play the Sanders as a tortured Colonel with a split personality fighting over Georgia Gold and Nashville Hot BBQ chicken. It was a layered performance worthy of whatever the commercial equivalent of an Academy Award is. 

Age: 64

Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States of America

More Ray Liotta

#66 of 338 on The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting) #60 of 127 on The Best Living American Actors featuring Ray Liotta Has Had A Way More Interesting Career Than You Ever Thought The Best Ray Liotta Movies

Are they a finger-lickin' good Colonel?
see more on Ray Liotta
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Brat Packer Rob Lowe got his chance to don the white wig and glasses in April 2017. However, Rob Lowe's Colonel didn't wear the trademark Colonel Sanders suit; instead, he wore an astronaut suit to promote the new KFC Zingers. Rob Lowe's performance - much like the Zingers themselves - was out of this world!

Age: 54

Birthplace: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America

More Rob Lowe

#4 of 114 on The Greatest '80s Teen Stars #21 of 28 on Actors Who Somehow Looked Older in the 90s Than They Do Now #7 of 11 on Actors You Forgot Were In 'The Outsiders' featuring The Best Rob Lowe Movies

Are they a finger-lickin' good Colonel?
see more on Rob Lowe
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

In August 2016, KFC and WWE teamed up to do an exclusive KFC commercial for the WWE Universe. It featured WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler as the Colonel putting the boots to lesser chicken competitor played by fellow Superstar The Miz. The fight got so heated it ended up in a WWE ring in front of an audience of thousands. It was a fun little ad where you got to see a muscle-bound Colonel show off his athletic prowess! 

Age: 38

Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America

More Dolph Ziggler

#39 of 262 on WWE's Greatest Superstars of the 21st Century #77 of 168 on The Best WWE Heels Ever #17 of 52 on The Best Second Bananas in Wrestling History #23 of 26 on The Best WWE World Heavyweight Champions

Are they a finger-lickin' good Colonel?
see more on Dolph Ziggler