Ever Wonder What Happened To The Real Wendy's Wendy?

She’s been the (illustrated) face of the Wendy’s fast food empire for over 40 years, but Wendy Thomas — daughter of the chain’s founder Dave Thomas — has preferred to let that pigtailed drawing of her do the talking in the years since.

Recalls Wendy of the photo shoot for the logo:

I just remember sitting there forever. My mom stuck pipe cleaners in my pigtails to make them stick straight up and I smiled so much that my face hurt by the end… It was a painful process.

Now the pigtail-free Wendy, who co-owns 33 of her namesake restaurants with her siblings, will be appearing in ads airing in Las Vegas to tout a new burger the chain is testing in the desert oasis, the Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburger:

Las Vegas to serve as test market for Wendy’s burger line [Las Vegas Sun]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Disoriented says:

    Mmmm, now that is a tasty burger!

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    By photo shoot, they mean artist’s rendering of a photo?

  3. Hoss says:

    Jeezez, Dad had heart disease and cancer – and his daughter names a cheeseburger after him? Nice tribute Wendy.

    • drizzt380 says:

      Cheeseburgers. They cause cancer!!!!

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      It’s only fair… Dad named the whole chain after her.

    • dolemite says:

      His bio says he died of liver cancer. I don’t see a mention of heart disease.

      And he was 70 years old…not exactly the prime of his life. People act as if dying at the age of 60-70 is some kind of catastrophe. 200 years ago people died at the age of 35.

      • Hoss says:

        Not true — if you made it past infancy 200 yrs ago, you had a good chance to live to old age. Ben Franklin (not a symbol of health) was a good example

        • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

          Yeah, but they didn’t have cheeseburgers back then. It wouldn’t have been worth it.

        • jerrycomo says:

          He did die at 84, if I remember correctly. BF is one man THAT LIVED.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          Not true. Life expectancy in 1900 was about 47 years in the U.S. Far fewer people lived to old age then, and many more do now.

        • Amnesiac85 says:

          Yeah, that’s actually not true at all. Life expectancy didn’t even dip into the 60s until the late 1930s.

    • sirwired says:

      Errr… he founded a fast-food restaurant chain and acted as its spokesman up until his death; it’s not like he was the chairman of the American Heart Association and on the board of PETA. And he didn’t exactly go about disavowing his greasy, sodium-filled legacy before his death. Naming a burger after him seems pretty darn reasonable to me.

      • MrEvil says:

        Not only that, but Dave worked in hamburger joints almost his entire life. He started out working in diners when he was a kid and moved on up to management. Then he helped Colonel Sanders take KFC nationwide which was like the only time he’d ever been out of the hamburger business. When he was done with KFC he started Wendy’s.

        Dave really stood behind his product and since his passing this fact has been reflected in Wendy’s quality which has declined ever since.

        • MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

          +1 I feel the same way. The commercials have sucked and the quality of the franchise overall seems to have degraded. That’s usually what happens, though.

          We have the Kings Family Restaurants around here and I’ve noticed, in the last few years that the emphasis has been more on marketing and less on quality of food and service. That, and Hartley King just sold the franchise to the corporation that owns Perkins’. So, it’s bound to decline as well. It’s sad.

        • Ecks says:

          I think the Applewood smoked bacon is an improvement over the previous bacon.

    • rpm773 says:

      He probably ate too much McDonalds and Burger King :P

    • MeowMaximus says:

      I met Dave Thomas once many years ago – A friend of the family had just purchased a franchise, and I was helping him get things set up, when out of the blue Dave walked in to say hi – I guess he was in the area. He struck me as a nice, very friendly, and very happy man. He stayed and chatted for about half an hour, gave some good advice, and was clearly very enthusiastic about his job. I think he was one of those people who was doing work he loved to do. I also noted that he didn’t show up with an entourage, and he drove himself in a cheap rental car. He was a very unpretentious gentleman. IMHO, Wendy’s does have the best fast food burgers, and I look forwards to trying the new one.

    • mandy_Reeves says:

      ok..I worked for Wendy’s the day Dave passed away. It was very sad for all of us. Like losing a favorite Uncle customers were coming in and saying “we’re sorry for your loss” like a frikkin wake….

      most of us never met him…but a few managers had the pleasure, during conferences or industry shows or whatever…said he was a real nice guy, and I believe it.

  4. dangerp says:

    Does anyone else find it ironic that you have to sit through a commercial… to watch a commercial?

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Yo dawg, I heard you like com–

      Eh, nevermind.

    • Alessar says:

      Yeah that’s why I stopped hanging out on comingsoon.net. Having to watch a commercial to view a trailer – which IS a commercial – was ridiculous.

    • nybiker says:

      Yeah me too. My Opera browser can’t seem to block it though. At first I thought what is a car story doing in a burger story? Then I saw the text about ‘your stuff will be shown after we bombard you with meaningless information’ – ok, it said ‘your stuff will resume in 15 seconds’. But I think we are so conditioned to block ads that we can’t wait 15 seconds because we don’t believe them that ‘we will be RIGHT back’. Yeah, years ago, RIGHT BACK might have meant 30 seconds. Nowadays they say that with a straight face and 4 minutes later they return and I have no idea who they are.
      Also, we block ads because well, they interrupt us. I want to see Wendy now, not in 15 seconds.

  5. DavidNYC says:

    I’m pretty sure her name isn’t really Wendy. I think in Dave Thomas’ autobiography he says that she couldn’t pronounce her own name when she was little, and said something instead that sounded like Wendy.

    • Hoss says:


    • Mobius says:

      Melinda Lou “Wendy” Morse – As a child, Morse was unable to pronounce the L in her name Melinda and so she became known by her nickname Wenda. Then 8-year old Wenda would eventually become the namesake behind the name of her father’s restaurant Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers

    • roguemarvel says:

      Apparently her given name is Melinda Lou.
      Makes we wonder if she still goes by Wendy.

      My dad gave my uncle a nickname when he was born and it stuck. Most people don’t even know his real name. Could have happened here. Or maybe she grew out of it (or didn’t want to be ‘that’ Wendy) and is just using it when its convenient

      • AstroPig7 says:

        My wife goes by a name that is not part of her legal name. Not many people know her legal name, which makes cashing checks a hassle. Take note, parents!

    • sew12 says:

      Her name is Melinda apparently.

  6. texty says:

    looks like she’s been eating too much of her own stash and not selling it…..

    • GC says:

      Looks like you’re an asshole bigot!

      • AlphaLackey says:

        Bigot? Please point to one generalization or prejudice against any identifiable demographic group in his statement.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          To be fair, I think it’s obviously a jab at fat people.

          • AlphaLackey says:

            No, it’s obviously a jab at *A* fat person, which is far from being pleasant, but also far from being a case of bigotry,

        • GC says:

          Oh, I don’t know. This one for starters: “looks like she’s been eating too much of her own stash and not selling it…..”

          That’s a pretty broad assumption based upon her appearance. Hey guys, she’s fat! SHE MUST HAVE EATEN A BUNCH OF CHEESEBURGERS ROFLCOPTER

          • texty says:

            well generally you get fat by eating more calories than you burn.

            she appears to be overweight, leading me to the (most likely incorrect, but funny) conclusion that she has been eating her own product that she is pushing, because it tends to be very high in calories.

            nothing bigoted about it. Hell, she could have gotten fat on lettuce and avacados for all we know. But that is a bit less likely than burgers. And not as funny.

          • AlphaLackey says:

            “Oh, I don’t know.”

            That much is clear.

            So, let me spell it out: The comment is about ONE person, based on evidence about that ONE person. It is not based on an assumption, a generalization, or a presupposition about a demographic group.

            If there was no picture supplied, and the comment was “well she runs burger stores so she’s obviously fat” THEN a claim of bigotry would have some merit.

            • GC says:

              And yet, just because she’s overweight people leap to the conclusion that the cause is due to her overeating and/or poor eating choices. That’s pretty damn intolerant behavior.

              • 12345678nine says:

                You know what is annoying? People keeping themselves completely ignorant to the fact that most overweight people eat too much crap and/or don’t exercise nearly enough.

                Does being “politically correct” these days mean we have to continue to ignore facts?

                • AlphaLackey says:

                  Yes, it does. It means that the unilateral entitlement of certain demographic groups to be offended trumps any and all considerations such as intent, context or reality. At least, that’s how it’s explained to me.

          • AlphaLackey says:

            For that matter, where do you get off calling her “a pretty broad”? Judging her by her looks while referring to her with a demeaning anachronism? That’s awfully misogynistic of you.

        • bdgbill says:

          In 2010 there are so many ways to be labeled a bigot that its almost impossible to avoid.

          Here is a list of just some of the things that will make you a bigot today:

          -Failing to be an enthusiastic supporter of an open border with Mexico.
          -Failing to enthusiastically support the entire gay agenda.
          -Getting your news from the wrong cable channel.
          -Failing to acknowledge the Proven Fact that all obese people are victims of a virus and are overweight by no fault of their own.
          – Being called a bigot by any nameless coward on the internet.

          So get with the times! Find a protected class you can shoehorn yourself into (maybe you are 1/16th Apache?), then you can acuse others of being bigots. It’s the pass-time of the digital era!

          • GC says:

            Alternatively, you could just try not to be an insensitive prick on the internet.

          • GC says:

            Alternatively, you could always try to not be an insensitive prick on the internet. But hey, whatever works for you personally because you’re apparently the only person that matters in your world.

          • GrammatonCleric says:

            Thank god you have some sense. People just want to complain about something I think haha, imagine if we told all the overweight people that believe the word of the Bible that according to their book THEY ARE GOING TO HELL FOR BEING FAT. I wonder how bigoted that makes me…

      • Hoss says:

        It’s a jab at someone that’s marketing cheeseburgers that clearly is showing an early health effect of eating them. If she had leathery skin and was marketing Hawaiian Tropics lotion, commenting about it is not a mark of asshole bigotry

    • dolemite says:

      I thought it…but didn’t say it!

      Honestly, if I were a rich person, I could go 2 ways. I’d either be in fantastic shape, or terrible shape, living a life of decadence. It’s like a 50/50 probability.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        If I were rich enough to be able to not have to work, I could spend an inordinate amount of time each day to working out with a personal trainer, just like celebrities do to maintain their unrealistic bodies.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          She manages 33 franchises. Who said she had free time,

    • misslisa says:

      Ha! I thought the same :)
      On the rare occasion I eat a Wendy’s burger (perhaps once every 2 years), I feel so heavy & bloativated. God only knows what a steady diet of that shite would do to a person.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I don’t think she owns the company, just a large number of franchises. She’s not the type of rich that doesn’t work. She’s the non-disgustingly rich person who works crazy hard to keep herself wealthy. Those people don’t have time to exercise.

    • captadam says:

      Okay, look back at some of the photos of her as a child. She has obviously had the same body type her entire life, and it’s not like she is terribly obese right now.

  7. Dan T. says:

    It’s annoying that you can’t even watch an ad in an online video without being forced to sit through another ad first.

  8. CaughtLooking says:

    She looks like her dad – and that’s not a compliment.

  9. dpeters11 says:

    Maybe they should continue to use her, in national ads. I don’t think they’ve really had a hit run of commercials since he died.

  10. bobosgirl says:

    I just love all the nasty comments below. Dave Thomas was a wonderful man- he gave millions away every year to charity, and his personal charity, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is one of the best charities ever- helping adoptees, potential adopters, and foster kids all over the U.S. It’s nice to see that people have nothing better to do with their time than make fat jokes and spread the hate, because his daughter loved him and named a burger after him.

    • 3rdUserName says:


      The guy was and maybe his foundation still is one of the biggest contributors to child adoption. The guy was a good heated man IMO and has done more for other than most of us here have..

    • Intheknow says:

      He really was a good guy. Give the daughter a break, she’s not a fashion model and never claimed to be one.

    • mac-phisto says:

      welcome to the internet. you must be new here.

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      I agree. They should be naming a freaking city after him and not just a Burger. Davesville or something. He was a great guy with a big heart. I had read that he was one of those wonder people who didn’t even graduate from high school, but look what he did with his life.

      haters will always find something to hate on. Fat haters love to poke fun at fat people. Its just because they like to see their name in comments on sites like this. They probably talk in their sleep and tell themselves how wonderful they are too. …losers!

  11. italianbaby says:

    wendy’s real name is melinda lou. since she couldn’t pronounce her own name as a child, her nickname became wendy’s.

  12. bfwebster says:

    Actually, I _was_ just wondering what had become of her a few days ago. Can’t remember why, but there you go.

  13. alstein says:

    I thought she became Heath Slater on Raw. ^_^

  14. vitajex says:

    Is nobody else worried about how these new burgers are ‘juicier?” I mean, what exactly is different? More fat? Why weren’t they always this juicy? You got a new kind of “cow”, Wendy?

    • NeoMatrix99 says:

      actually its because they used to drain grease off the burger when making a sandwich and it just leads to them drying out if not eaten right away. thats the only difference that i can tell.

      I used to enjoy a triple every now and then but i can’t imagine trying to eat one with the meat thicker, it was bad enough trying to take a bite as is.

  15. The Marionette says:

    Good to see she likes eating wendy’s………….

  16. gman863 says:

    I’m a little surprised she’s doing this.

    When Wendy’s was purchased by Arby’s about a year ago, the articles I read made it sound like Wendy Thomas thought the company her dad founded had been taken over by the Antichrist.

  17. dush says:

    The idea of a juicy burger doesn’t sit too well.

  18. clarkbarr says:

    The first job I got out of college was working at a Wendy’s, where I did get to meet Mr. Thomas. Never forgot how kind and gentle he was.

  19. The cake is a lie! says:

    Ah hell… I was just in Vegas last week too!! I wasn’t there for the tv commercials, so I had no idea. I totally would have found a wendy’s and banged out a cheeseburger! That’s a lot better than when I went to Cheeseburgers and banged out a Wendy… Damn Vegas and your attractions!

  20. Nick says:

    I can’t wait to get a hold of a bloodier Wendy’s burger because I like their hamburgers. However, I would like to know if Wendy’s sources their beef from the same places as McDonald’s.

  21. GrammatonCleric says:

    something about her face and eyes make me incredibly uncomfortable. Like she’s looking into my soul and in the background I hear a demon saying “EAT THIS”.

  22. Skankingmike says:

    Despite some quality issues at some of the chains I still think Wendy’s has the best fast food, I love I can get a baked potato instead of fries, and I think for fast food their chili isn’t half bad.

    I honestly never eat at these places but if I’m forced to eat fast food, like once or twice a year I try to make it Wendy’s.

  23. NeoMatrix99 says:

    Well I don’t know about them being named after him but a number of restaurants in the rhode island area have the new single and junior beef, mayo, pickles, onions, and the toasted buns. There is one sandwich they’re running called the D.T. double or dave thomas double.

    The sauce is like a thousand island dressing with relish mixed in, it’s quite good on chicken. If you ask they usually will let you use the new sauce on another sandwich since it’s like getting mayo instead of ketchup.