Craig Fleming is the actor behind Colonel Sanders in the latest KFC commercials promoting Kentucky Fried Chicken & Waffles.
The TV spots see Fleming dressed as the iconic Colonel dancing and bonding with Mrs. Butterworth — a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup.
In one commercial, he and the bottle recreate the signature dance from Dirty Dancing, and in a second he shares a special connection with Mrs. Butterworth in a flirty video to Celine Dion’s I Am Your Lady.
KFC has had plenty of famous actors play Colonel Sanders in the past, but most fans probably don’t recognize Fleming. So who is he?
Fleming was born in Long Beach, California. In his earlier years, he worked several different jobs to pay the bills — everything from playing a theme park Disney character to working as a seance medium at a private magic club and a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.
While he pursued his acting dreams, Craig worked as an acting teacher including at the Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory.
Another of his skills is writing, and throughout his career, he worked on games and scripts for Alchemy II, the creators of the talking children’s toy Teddy Ruxpin.
He also worked overseas as a Disney Imagineer in Paris, France, where he helped write scripts and come up with names ahead of the opening of the Disneyland Paris amusement park.
Today Fleming resides in California. On his personal website, he explains that he returned to California and decided to resign from Walt Disney Imagineering after his father passed away.
He explains that he had to care for his mother, who was living in Orange County. Craig went back to work at the South Coast Repertory, working his way up to the first Education Director. However, in 1997, he decided to pursue acting, working towards an MFA — a Master of Fine Arts.
In 2014, he left the South Coast Repertory to pursue writing and acting on a full-time basis.
Craig is married to wife Kimberly, who is also a writer, and they have a son called Thomas who is a Harvey Mudd National Merit Scholar, and unlike his parents is not pursuing a career in writing and acting, instead working in Computer Science.
Previous acting roles for Fleming include the 1991 movie Dead Silence, where he played Tony Rotella. He’s also starred in a few short films over the years, including Where Do The Balloons Go?, Memory, and One.
He also played Professor Matthews in My Haunted House, a television series from 2015. His latest acting credit is The Conspiracy Connection from 2016, where he played the role of Dr. Charwick.
Fleming also has a lengthy resume in stage performances. You can look through his full list of performances here.
Craig’s work with KFC marks the company’s limited-time offer of chicken and waffles. KFC has revealed that it wasn’t an easy pairing, going through 15 different waffle variations before deciding on Belgian Liege-style waffles.
KFC U.S. Head Chef Bob Das has revealed of the new menu item that fans should expect a sweeter and doughier version of the traditional American waffles. As for Craig, he says he is privileged to be part of the new campaign.
“I am truly honored to join the distinguished guild of thespians who play Colonel Sanders. Look for me in four national spots this holiday season,” he wrote on his website.