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Dave Thomas

From Academic Kids

This article is about the founder of Wendy's. For the actor, see Dave Thomas (actor).

R. David "Dave" Thomas (July 2, 1932January 8, 2002) was the founder and chairman of Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers, a fast food restaurant chain specializing in hamburgers. He is also known for personally appearing in over 800 commercial advertisements for the chain from 1989 to 2002. He had such presence in these ads that many believed he was a professional actor.

Thomas started out in business by purchasing four KFC franchises, and he was strongly influenced by KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders. He later sold his KFC franchises and opened his first Wendy's in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969. At the time of his death, there were over 6000 Wendy's restaurants operating in North America.

Adopted as an infant, Thomas was himself a well-known advocate for adoption, founding the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in 1992. Having dropped out of high school at age 15, he finally got his GED in 1993. Thomas died in 2002 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after a decade-long struggle with liver cancer.

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