John Y. Brown, Jr.

John Y. Brown, Jr.

Infobox Governor

name= John Y. Brown, Jr.
order= 55th
office= Governor of Kentucky
term_start= 1979
term_end= 1983
lieutenant= Martha Layne Collins
predecessor= Julian M. Carroll
successor= Martha Layne Collins
birth_date= birth date and age |1933|12|28
birth_place= Lexington, Kentucky
spouse= Eleanor Durall (1960-1977)
Phyllis George (1979-1998)
Jill Roach (1998-2003)
profession= Attorney, Businessman
party= Democrat

John Young Brown Jr. (born December 28, 1933) is a U.S. Democratic Party politician, entrepreneur and businessman.

John Y. Brown Jr. was born in Lexington, Kentucky. His father, John Y. Brown, Sr. was a member of the U.S. Congress from Kentucky and a member of the Kentucky state legislature for nearly three decades, including a term as Speaker of the House. He graduated from Lafayette High School and University of Kentucky, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta, earning both an undergraduate degree and a law degree. From 1959 to 1965, he served in the United States Army Reserve. In 1960, he married Eleanor Bennett Durall, of Central City, Kentucky, and had three children, including John Y. Brown, III, who served as Kentucky Secretary of State from 1996 to 2004. The couple divorced in 1977. Two years later, he married former Miss America and CBS sportscaster Phyllis George, and had two more children, including television reporter Pamela Ashley Brown.

In 1964, Brown bought KFC from its founder, Colonel Harland Sanders, and built the company into one of the world's largest fast food chains, before selling it in 1971. In 1973 Brown became the owner of the Kentucky Colonels team in the American Basketball Association, owning the team until its dispersal in the 1976 ABA-NBA merger. In 1976, shortly after that merger, Brown purchased the Buffalo Braves, the NBA team that would later become the Los Angeles Clippers. From 1978 to 1979, he co-owned the Boston Celtics NBA team.

Brown served as Governor of Kentucky from 1979 to 1983, defeating former Republican governor Louie B. Nunn in the 1979 general election. Education reform and increased statewide economic development were the hallmarks of his administration. He donated his first year's salary as Governor to a project to restore the deteriorated Governor's Mansion. The project was completed in May 1983. [ "Distinguished University of Kentucky Alumni,"] "University of Kentucky Alumni Association".] . In September 1983, the National Democratic Party named him Democrat of the Year.

Controversy over gambling and friends with drug issues

In his term as Governor, he was investigated for withdrawing $1.3 million of personal cash from a Miami bank when he was in office. Mr. Brown admitted the money was for gambling debts. He was reported to have lost $1 million in a single sitting in Las Vegas. [,9171,950915-1,00.html "A Probe Hits Horse Country,"] "Time". July 4, 1983.] [ "Former Governor Enters Kentucky Senate Race,"] "New York Times". March 16, 1984.] .

Mr. Brown was further embarrassed when a close friend and business associate, James P. Lambert, owner of Lexington, Kentucky's Library Lounge and known associate of Andrew C. Thornton II, was indicted on more than 60 drug charges.text] text] Lambert lived in a Lexington house owned by Governor Brown at the time the drug offenses occurred.


Shortly after completing his term as governor, Brown made an abortive bid for the United States Senate seat held by Walter Huddleston.

In 1987, he ran unsuccessfully for a second term as governor, losing to Wallace G. Wilkinson in the Democratic primary.

Following his unsuccessful run for the governorship in 1987, he resumed his career in the restaurant industry. In 1991, he formed a partnership with recording artist Kenny Rogers, co-founding and serving as CEO of Kenny Rogers Roasters, an international chain of wood-roasted chicken restaurants. Since 1990, he has founded several other restaurants including Miami Subs, Chicken By George, and Roadhouse Grill.

In 1998, he divorced Phyllis George, after 19 years of marriage. Later that year, he married former Mrs. Kentucky Jill Louise Roach, 27 years his junior, but divorced in 2003.

Brown currently divides his time between homes in Lexington, Kentucky and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Brown turns down honorary co-chair spot

On November 16, 2007, the "Lexington Herald-Leader" reported that Brown declined Governor-elect Steve Beshear's offer to be an honorary co-chair of the December 11 inaugural committee, a distinction that each of the other living former Democratic governors (Wendell Ford, Julian Carroll, Martha Layne Collins, Brereton Jones and Paul E. Patton) accepted.

Vicki Glass, Beshear's spokeswoman, told the "Herald-Leader" that each of the former governors had been invited. When asked why Brown was not among the group, Glass referred questions to Brown.

Brown claims that he has no respect for Beshear, citing "distortions" of Brown's record as governor that Beshear supposedly put forth during the 1987 primary election campaign. "He said things that were not true, like we had raised taxes," Brown explained. "I just never respected him after that."

Brown's son, John Y. Brown, III, who served as Kentucky's Secretary of State from 1996 to 2004, said that he does not share his father's view of Beshear but did acknowledge that Brown, Jr. carries a "grudge against him (Beshear)." "Gov. Beshear and his family could not have been kinder to me and my family throughout the campaign, [and] I am full of hope and optimism about the Beshear-Mongiardo administration and expect great things from them over the next four years."


* [ Harvard Business School - 20th Century Great American Business Leaders]
* [ Former Ky. governor files for third divorce (Cincinnati Enquirer article)]
* [,9171,950915-1,00.html A Probe Hits Horse Country (Time article)]
* [ Former Governor Enters Kentucky Senate Race (New York Times article)]


NAME= Brown, John Y., Jr.
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Brown, John Young, Jr.
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Governor of Kentucky
DATE OF BIRTH= {December 28, 1933
PLACE OF BIRTH= Lexington, Kentucky

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