John Y. Brown Jr., former Kentucky governor and KFC owner, dies at 88

John Y. Brown Jr., a onetime owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken who parlayed his fast-food fortune into a dramatic rise in Kentucky politics, winning one term as governor shortly after marrying sportscaster and former Miss America Phyllis George, died Nov. 21 at a hospital in Lexington, Ky. He was 88.

The son of a one-term congressman who longed for higher office, Mr. Brown entered politics after a business career in which he helped build Kentucky Fried Chicken into one of the state’s most famous exports and one of the largest fast-food chains in the world. He was also an owner of three professional basketball teams, among them the Boston Celtics.

Mr. Brown was 30 in 1964 when he and a co-investor purchased Kentucky Fried Chicken from founder Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, for $2 million. They kept the colonel — the title was honorary — as their spokesman as the chicken chain grew to include 3,500 locations around the globe, eclipsing even McDonald’s for a period.


This story appeared first on, 2022-11-24.
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