Characters Based On Real People
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Frank "Rocky" Fiegel: Popeye
Popeye is a sailor who eats lots of spinach to gain strength to save damsels in distress. He was created by Elzie Crisler Segar for a popular comic strip series.
Frank Fiegel was a tough man who lived in Segar's hometown of Chester, IL. He is said to be the primary influence of Popeye. Segar allegedly sent Fiegel money as a thank-you for his inspiration.
Edith Head: Edna Mode
Edna Mode is an eccentric fashion designer who appeared in the 2004 animated film The Incredibles.
Edith Head is an Oscar-winning fashion designer who is known for her unique look and beautiful designs.
Pixar artist Teddy Newton, who co-created the character of Edna Mode, stated that Head and the James Bond character, Q, were his primary influences for the character.
Louis Deutsch: Moe Szyslak
Moe Szyslak is the owner of Moe's Tavern on the animated television show "The Simpsons." He is known to be short-tempered and regularly flies off the handle when receiving prank phone calls.
Louis Deutsch was a former heavyweight boxer and the owner of the Tube Bar. He was known go into a rage when getting prank phone calls at his bar. Recordings of Deutsch screaming profanities became popular and are said to have influenced "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening to create the character of Moe Szyslak.
Joseph Bell: Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is an astute detective who uses logic and reason to solve crimes in the book series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Dr. Joseph Bell was a surgeon who was known to use his powers of observation to diagnose his patients. Doyle has specifically referenced Bell as the inspiration behind the character of Sherlock Holmes.
Kenny Kramer: Cosmo Kramer
Cosmo Kramer is Jerry Seinfeld's whacky neighbor on the classic sitcom "Seinfeld." Cosmo Kramer rarely works, but he regularly comes up with crazy schemes that impact Jerry's life.
"Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David lived across the hall from stand-up comedian Kenny Kramer for several years. David used his neighbor as inspiration for the character of Kramer, having the character love golf, hot tubs, and crazy inventions just like his real-life counterpart.
Palle Huld: Tintin
Tintin is a young adventurer who travels the world with his dog, Snowy, in The Adventures of Tintin comic series.
Palle Huld was an actor and writer who, at age 15, traveled the world after winning a Jules Verne-inspired contest. Huld is largely believed to have inspired Belgian cartoonist Hergé to create the character of Tintin.
Hiram Bingham III: Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones is the title character from the Steven Spielberg-directed, George Lucas-created Indiana Jones series. He is an intelligent explorer with a strong sense of adventure.
Hiram Bingham III was an academic explorer who later became a U.S. politician. He is often cited as the inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones. George Lucas has also cited Sean Connery's portrayal of James Bond to have also been a primary influence for Indiana Jones.
Ed Gein: Norman Bates, Buffalo Bill, Leatherface
Norman Bates (Psycho), Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs), and Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) are some of the most iconic killers to ever appear on film. They were all inspired by the crimes of Ed Gein.
Ed Gein was a murderer who would keep the skin and bones of his victims. He would also steal bodies from graves to take their skin and bones. He was eventually captured and spent his life serving out a prison sentence in a mental hospital.
John Nettleship: Severus Snape
Professor Severus Snape is the Potions Master who taught Harry Potter many lessons during his time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is said to have based the character of Severus Snape on John Netteship, her chemistry teacher at Wyedean School.
Of being the inspiration for Snape, Nettleship said, "I was horrified when I first found out. I knew I was a strict teacher, but I didn't think I was that bad."
Jeff Dowd: Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski
Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski is a pot-smoking, bowling enthusiast who gets mixed up with a group of pornographers and nihilists after being confused for a rich man who is also named Jeffrey Lebowski in the film The Big Lebowski.
Jeff Dowd is a producer and political activist who met The Big Lebowski creators, Joel and Ethan Coen, when they were promoting their first film, Blood Simple. The Coen Brothers were so inspired by Dowd that they loosesly based the character of "The Dude" on his personality traits.
Dave Toschi: Dirty Harry
"Dirty" Harry Callahan is a San Francisco Police Department Inspector who works to bring the vicious Scorpio killer to justice in the Dirty Harry film series.
Dave Toschi is a former San Francisco Police Department Inspector who investigated the Zodiac Killer case in late-60s and early-70s. Dirty Harry was loosely based on the people and events involved with the Zodiac Killer investigation.
Forest Yeo-Thomas: James Bond
James Bond is a charismatic secret spy who has a way with women and prefers his drinks "shaken, not stirred." The character was created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, but Bond became a worldwide phenomenon after he appeared on the silver screen.
Forest Yeo-Thomas was a Special Operations Executive agent in World War II. Fleming has said that Bond was based on, "a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war." Yeo-Thomas is believed to be one the men who inspired the classic character.
Joaquin Murrieta: Zorro
Zorro is a master swordsman and a charismatic ladies' man. The character was created by writer Johnston McCulley in 1919. Zorro has appeared in books, television, and film.
Joaquin Murrieta was known as the Mexican Robin Hood during the California Gold Rush. He is largely considered to be the historical influence for the character of Zorro.
William Randolph Hearst: Charles Foster Kane
Charles Foster Kane is the newspaper man and eventual recluse who is the primary character of Orson Welles's 1941 film Citizen Kane.
William Randolph Hearst was an influential newspaper publisher who created the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world. His biography was the primary influence for the storyline of Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane.
John Elwes: Ebenezer Scrooge
Ebenezer Scrooge is a cold-hearted businessman who famously utters the phrase "Bah, humbug" in Charles Dickens's novel 1843 A Christmas Carol.
John Elwes was a member of British Parliament, noted for being a miser. Elwes is believed to be Dickens's primary influence in creating the character of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Helen Kane: Betty Boop
Betty Boop is the animated character known for her big eyes and curvaceous figure, who was created by Max Fleischer.
Helen Kane was a singer who was famous for performing the hit, "I Wanna Be Loved By You."
In 1932, Kane sued Fleischer for creating a "deliberate caricature" of her image and personality with the character of Betty Boop. The case was dismissed as Kane failed to prove her case, but many still believe that she was the inspiration behind Betty Boop.
Rusty Nails: Krusty the Klown
Krusty the Klown is the smoking, drinking children's show host who appears on the animated TV series "The Simpsons."
Rusty Nails was the host of children's TV shows in Portland, Oregon, where "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening grew up. Groening has stated that Rusty Nails was the primary inspiration behind Krusty.
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