What is your favorite cartoon? Are you still into the ones you watched as a kid, or do you prefer watching South Park and Family Guy nowadays? Whether you like Archer or Pocahontas, all famous animated shows and movies are built around rememberable, charismatic characters.
But I bet you didn’t know many were based on real people. Wait, what? Some people were so incredibly unique, they just had to be a part of a cartoon! Here are 13 animated personas who were based on real people, courtesy of TheChive.
1. Eric Cartman from South Park
Eric Cartman from South Park was based on Archie Bunker from All in the Family. Interestingly, South Park co-creator Trey Parker once said in an interview: “In the early ’90s, we were sitting there going, a show like that couldn’t be on the air right now because things are so PC. You couldn’t have an Archie Bunker,” he said. “And we used to talk about how, if Archie Bunker was 8 years old, I bet you could do it.” Wow!
2. Milhouse from The Simpsons
Milhouse from The Simpsons was based on Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years. Pfeiffer was the best friend/sidekick of the show’s main character.
3. Mr. Magoo was based on comedian W.C. Fields
Remember the good old W. C. Fields? Although his comic persona was that of a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist, he remained a sympathetic character.
4. Yosemite Sam was based on Red Skelton
Red Skelton was a popular comedian whom you may remember from old western movies.
5. Popeye was based on a sailor named Frank “Rocky” Fiegel
Cartoonist E.C. Segar based his character on the sailor Frank Fiegel. Fiegel was a local hero in Segar’s hometown of Chester, Illinois who had one eye, loved to smoke pipes and get into fights. Moreover, he truly was strong!
6. Edna Mode was based on fashion designer Edith Head
The superhero costume designer from The Incredibles was based on legendary fashion designer Edith Head who created costumes for over 430 films, winning eight Academy Awards in the process!
7. Betty Boop was based on singer/actress Helen Kane
Betty Boop was inspired by popular 1920s singer/actress Helen Kane, who looked and sounded like her. Helen, however, did not like the cartoon version of herself and sued both the cartoonist and Paramount Pictures.
8. Dennis The Menace was based on the boy Dennis Ketcham
Cartoonist Hank Ketcham based Dennis The Menace on his unruly son. One day, after his son created a big mess, the mother shouted: “Your son is a menace!”
9. Tinker Bell was based on Margaret Kelly
It was long rumored that Tinker Bell in Peter Pan was modeled after Marilyn Monroe. However, Disney revealed that she was based on Irish dancer Margaret Kelly whose nickname was Miss Bluebell.
10. Ariel was based on Alyssa Milano
Ariel from The Little Mermaid was modeled after the big eyes of Alyssa Milano, who was a young actress on the ABC sitcom Who’s the Boss? back then.
11. Archie was based on Mickey Rooney
Archie was based on Mickey Rooney, the legendary redheaded star of teen comedies.
12. Pocahontas was based on Native American actress Irene Bedard
Irene lent her voice to the Disney animation and the whole character was based on her.
13. Ursula was modeled after 1970s drag queen Divine
They did a great job!
Here are more cartoon characters and their human doppelgangers.