Restaurants | Food

Colonel Sanders Hated KFC So Much He Sued It For Millions

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He's a recognizable icon across all of America, but there is much more to Harland David Sanders's story than his white hair and dapper suit.

The man behind the famous fried chicken chain had his share of controversy.

Some may not have realized that "The Colonel" was an actual person and not just a beloved caricature from the KFC logo.

Harland David Sanders not only created the company, but even after he sold it, remained an ambassador for the company for the last 20 years of his life.

His tough upbringing, lead him down a hard road to travel. When he was just six years old, his father died of a fever. He later dropped out of school in the seventh grade. He then spent most of his life working hard, labor-intensive jobs including working with a blacksmith, as a fireman and a railroad laborer. That didn't hold him back though.

He got a law degree, though he lost his job as a lawyer after getting into a brawl with one of his clients.

Working at a gas station, he sold his fried chicken over the counter until finally getting an adjoining restaurant when it became popular. When he was 50, he came up with the "Secret Recipe" behind KFC's famous chicken.

It wasn't until he was 62, in 1952, that he offered his recipe to another restaurant in Utah, which later became the first official KFC franchise.

3 years later, Sanders had to shut down his business because Interstate 75 was built and there were no customers. He was now broke, with only $106 left to his name.

He traveled the country, sleeping in his car, in an attempt to franchise his chicken. And the risk worked out. By 1964 when he was 74-years-old, he had more than 600 locations and it was more than he could handle. He sold off the company to two businessmen for $2 million and an annual salary of $40,000 for his ambassador role.

But that's when things turned south for the fried chicken creator.

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