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:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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)