Meet The Real Faces Behind The World’s Iconic Images

As company logos featuring people and animals go, it’s easy to ignore them as just another big corporate image. But here’s the fascinating faces behind some of the most famous logos in the world.

Colonel Harland David Sanders, born September 1890, was a US businessman who founded KFC. But it wasn’t until he was recommissioned as a Kentucky colonel in 1950 that he really started to dress the part and become the colonel we know today.

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Sanders grew a goatee, donned a white suit and string tie, and started referring to himself as “Colonel”. At first, everyone went along jokingly, but it worked so well as a marketing ploy they kept it up.

Sanders never wore anything else in public for the last 20 years of his life. He had a heavy wool suit in winter, and a light cotton version for summer. He even bleached his mustache and goatee to match his white hair.


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The Colombia Pictures Woman, or ‘Torch Lady’, a.k.a. Jenny Joseph, is one of the most iconic figures in cinema.


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She first appeared in 1928 and has had nearly 10 revisions and updates since then. Artist Michael J. Deas was commission in 1992 to update the Columbia logo, and spent two months working on an oil painting (that would later be animated) with Jenny Joseph as the model.

Walter Botts, better known as Uncle Sam from the famous WWII recruitment posters, was the neighbour of photographer James Montgomery Flagg who created the image.


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The iconic image is actually based on the much-coped 1914 British recruitment poster of Lord Kitchener (above). For the original poster, Flagg used his own likeness, but when asked to update the image for the war effort, Flagg picked Botts.

“He had the longest arms, the longest nose, and the bushiest eyebrows,” according to Flagg, and Botts ended up being commended for service by President Johnson in 1969, and posthumously honored by President Nixon.


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Leo the Lion is the iconic roaring lion that opens every MGM movie. But he’s actually a rather talented (and lucky) actor trained by Mel Koontz. He was the first MGM lion to roar via a gramophone for the now-famous MGM intro.


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Jackie went on to appear in hundreds of films, including the Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller, and appearing alongside Greta Garbo in a 1926 publicity stunt (she doesn’t look too pleased).


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The lion also had a strange ability to survive accidents, including two train wrecks, an earthquake, and an explosion in a studio, which earned him the nickname “Leo the Lucky”.


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