15 Cartoon Characters You Didn’t Know Were Inspired by Real People


It’s hard to believe but some very famous cartoon characters were inspired by Hollywood celebrities. The production teams may not admit it sometimes but some of them already have to ease our curiosity. Throughout the history of animation, cartoon characters have been inspired by real people and this is how they look so real and relevant.

The Native American actress Irene Bedard not only did voice-over for 90’s blockbuster cartoon movie Pocahontas but was the inspiration behind the character. Can you imagine the legendary movie ‘Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs’ has also taken its lead character’s inspiration from the 40’s well-known actress Marge Champion? She also modeled for Blue Fairy in Pinocchio.

Apart from the above mentioned characters, here are the 15 most popular cartoon characters that are inspired by real people.

15. Aladdin – Tom Cruise


Yeah, you read it right. The top-rated handsome hero of Hollywood, Tom Cruise was the inspiration behind the middle-eastern character Aladdin. Tom was doing projects like A Few Good Men (1992) and Far and Away (1992) which earned him the tags of being a brashly self-confident and brave guy with a good wit.

Though when the script of Aladdin was written, the production did not have a personality like Cruise in mind. But who cares if the character fits its inspiration perfectly?

14. Bugs Bunny – Clark Gable


Animator Friz Freleng was in dire need of inspiration for his character Bugs Bunny in 1934. This was the time when Clark appeared in a comedy movie ‘It Happened One Night. The reason Bugs Bunny rose to great heights of fame was his style of munching on a carrot. This exactly was the trait of Gable as he munches on a carrot in the movie, talking from one side of his mouth.

13. The Vultures in Jungle Book – The Beatles & Fab Four


For the voice over of Vulture’s role in Disney’s iconic The Jungle Book, there seems a bit controversy as some relate it to Fab Four and some to The Beatles, the most popular band in the world of its time.

Rumors has it, The Beatles excused to do the voice of The Vultures initially as it did not match with their schedule. However, the Ziggy, Dizzy, Bussy and Flaps accent kind of prove this rumor false as they resemble with The Beatles a lot more than anyone. Fans who claim the voice to be matching with Chad Stuart and Lord Tim Hudson is because of the voices in the end.

12. Ariel – Alyssa Milano


We all fell in love in the first sight we watched Little Mermaid’s Ariel but little do we know about the orientation of this character. The ‘Speed Zone’ Italian-American actress Alyssa Milano is the inspiration behind Ariel. Milano being 17, at that time, had acted in three films including the comedy “Speed Zone”.

The inspiration of this character is actually taken from 1839 fable by a Norwegian author Hans Christian Andersen.

11. Millhouse – Josh Saviano


Bart Simpson’s best friend Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten is one of the most interesting and recognizable character of The Simpsons. Can you believe he, too, was mimicked by a real life character from the Wonder Years, Paul Pfeiffer?

He was the hero Kevin’s best friend as quite nerdy guy, allergic to most things in life especially socializing. The resemblance is just unmistakable!

10. Miss American Chavez, Marvel’s Comic Book – Beyonce


Looking for a super American woman’s character for their new comic book Marvels representative said, “America is a comic that is all about representation, feminism and fighting for what’s right. America Chavez hits hard, looks fabulous and makes no apologies along the way. I could think of no better parallel than Beyoncé”.

So yes, Beyoncé, of course, was the perfect face anyone would opt for while choosing a strong and brave American woman. This, by the way, was also because of her video song ‘Formation’.

9. Genie – Robin Williams


One of the most cherished character of Disney’s movies was Genie from Aladdin. The producers of the movie wanted Robin Williams to voice Genie so bad that they even drew Genie just as Robin looked like. Even a lot of jokes of Genie are copyrighted of Williams.

“Robin totally got what kind of potential animation had in utilizing his talents. What Robin had in common with other voice artists is a set of vocal chords that were 100% elastic.” (LA Times, 1992)

8. Belle, Beauty and The Beast – Sherri Stoner


Sherry worked in Disney as both a script writer and producer back in 90’s. She is the role model behind the famous Belle from the movie that is in limelight even now in 2017, Beauty and The Best. She also served as reference model for Ariel.

7. Edna Mode, The Incredibles – Edith Head


A hilarious, stylish and nerdy character of Pixar’s is Edna Mode from The Incredibles movie. Interestingly, this character was also based on a real life person Edith Head who was the costume designer for over 400 movies. Edna also earned an Academy Award for her work.

6. Ursula The Witch, Little Mermaid – Divine aka Harris Glenn Milstead


This interesting villain character from Little Mermaid is Divine who hailed to limelight in the early ’70s owing to some of her starring roles in John Waters films like “Mondo Trasho” and “Pink Flamingos.”

Sadly, Divine passed away in 1988 and the cartoon was released in 1989.

5. Smurfette – Katty Perry


One of the most interesting fact about this character is, not only it’s based on Katy Perry but the producers also added her traits to the character. Smurfette, Katty Perry, is an adventurous, risk taker yet intelligent and thoughtful girl with the awareness of her own strengths.

Apart from Katy Perry, Hank Azaria and Neil Patrick Harris also featured their voices for this cartoon. The cartoon is originally Belgian and it took over 5- years for the team to get its copy rights.

4. Rainier Wolfcastle, The Simpsons – Arnold Schwarzenegger


Who could believe the Rainier Wolfcastle in The Simpson was actually based on Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well for a tough guy like Wolfcastle who could be better? After seeing his performance in movies like Total Recall, Mr. Groening finalized Arnold to play this character.

3. Atzeca, Antz – Jennifer Lopez


Azteca in the 1998 movie Antz was played by Jennifer Lopez. She’s the friend Woody Allen’s character Z who falls in love with Corporal Weaver. Jennifer not only did the voice over for Z but also played the role.

Antz was a star stud cartoon movie with celebrities like Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft and Gene Hackman. The movie had broken all previous records of success.

2. Davis. S Pumpkins – Tom Hanks


Known as the ‘Santa Clause’ of Halloween, Davis Pumpkin had the voice of top-rated Hollywood celebrity Tom Hanks. NBC had announced in 2017 about the Saturday Night Live hero, David S Pumpkins will be turned into a cartoon character to be aired at occasion of Halloween. However, his first appearance was on the show in 2016 as a seasonal comedy.

1. Fry, Futurama – James Dean


Just as in the hit 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean wore denim pants with red jacket and white shirt having blond hair, Fry in Futurama has the same clothing and style which have convinced half of the world to be characterized over Dean.

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15 Cartoon Characters You Didn’t Know Were Inspired by Real People

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