27 Well-Known Characters That Are Based On Real People

It's easy to assume that famous characters are born in a flash of inspiration, somewhere deep (or shallow) in the cortexes of some creative genius. But as it turns out, a lot of the time creative people just pick a famous person as a starting point, and just add some embellishments until they're fiction. Green skin. A cancer diagnosis. Adam Sandler with a ukulele.

But the fact remains, at the core of a lot of great characters is a real person who deserves some credit for being interesting. Real people like:

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SCANDAL'SOLIVIA POPEIS BASED on CRISIS management GuRu JUDY smItH.. MOSTLY. Smith, who worked as deputy press secretary to President George H W. Bush,Source: ABC

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JOHN NETTLESHIP described himself as a hort-tempered chemistry teacher with long hair... [and a] gloomy, malodorous laboratory' who enjoyed picking Source: 5 Villains That Were Thinly-Veiled Versions of Real People

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THERE WASA REAL SHREK Maurice Tillet was a French wrestler known as the freak ogre of the ring in the '40s. Tillet suffered from acromegaly, a thickSource: 15 Mind-Blowing Old-Timey Photos You Won't Believe Are Real

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TWISTY WAS BASED on A REAL SERIAL KILLER One of the most terrifying characters in American Horror Story: Freak Show was based on a terrifying real perSource: The Atlantic

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URSULAIS LITERALLY DIVInE The Little Mermaid sea witch is based on drag queen Divine, who made a splash in the '70s with Pink Flamingoes and Mondo TraSource: 5 Famous Characters You Didn't Know Are Based On Real People

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This is Louis Red Deutsch, a New Jersey bartender and ex-boxer. In the '70s, prank callers Jim Davidson and John Elmo would constantly call him askiSource: 5 Villains That Were Thinly-Veiled Versions of Real People

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THE oBSESSIVE COP in LAKEVIEW TERRACE WAS A REAL GUY. In 2002, Officer Irsie Henry terrorized his Altadena, CA neighbors for being a mixed-race coupleSource: Pasadena Weekly

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THE REAL SOUP NAZI HATED seinFeld. His name is Al Yeganeh, and he claimed the show ruined his business. Not that the character was inaccurate. When Source: 5 Villains That Were Thinly-Veiled Versions of Real People

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JACK NICHOLSON'S DILDO-WAVING DEPARTED VILLAIN IS BASED on A REAL MOBSTER. Nicholson played Frank Costello, a character directly based on James WhiteSource: 5 Badass Movie Characters You Didn't Know Were Real People

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MeeT THE REAL DON DRAPER. This is Draper Dan Daniels, head of the Leo Burnett Agency in the '60s. He was the creator of the Marlboro Man, and a minoSource: Ad Age

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Empire's Lucious Lyon is a musician with a checkered past, now sitting atop a hip hop empire and dealing with his legacy. Show creator Lee Daniels basSource: YouTube

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And just because a movie or character is based on real-life, doesn't mean it's accurate. Check out these 'True Story' Oscar movies that are full of cr

6 'True Story' Oscar Movies (That Are Secretly Full Of Lies)