Every Actor Who's Played Colonel Sanders, Ranked
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.
- 196 VOTES
Norm Macdonald's version of the KFC Colonel was the second Colonel of this current ad campaign but was the first to actually let on what the advertisers were actually doing. In typical Norm humor, Macdonald's Colonel claimed that Darrell Hammond's previous Colonel Sanders was an imposter and that he was, in fact, the real Colonel Sanders. In real life, Norm Macdonald has stated that he felt KFC was making a mistake by replacing Darrell Hammond at all.
- Age: 59
- Birthplace: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
- 260 VOTES
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: 67
- Birthplace: Melbourne, Florida, USA
- 347 VOTES
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: 68
- Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States of America
- 450 VOTES
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: 59
- Birthplace: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
- 540 VOTES
In September 2016, Rob Riggle, the guy who's appeared in just about everything (seriously, look at the man's IMDB page) got his chance to play the Colonel and didn't disappoint. Riggle's high energy demeanor made his version the most cartoonish, but also one of the most fun. You can tell Riggle was having a good time putting his stamp on the icon.
- Age: 52
- Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
- 663 VOTES
Jim Gaffigan, the comedian arguably best known for his eating habits, was a perfect fit to be one of the KFC Colonels. In February 2016, Gaffigan brought meta-humor to the character, as he threatened to strike as the colonel in one ad thinking he was irreplaceable, and then breaking character once he realized he will, indeed, be replaced. It was with Gaffigan's Colonel that firmly established that none of these colonels are made to last.
- Age: 56
- Birthplace: Elgin, Illinois, United States of America