Tuesday, March 3, 2015

10 Screen Characters You Never Knew Were Based on Real People


Roy Lee "Rocky" Dennis from "Mask"

Eric Stoltz's character in the 1985 American drama film "Mask" was based on the life and death of Roy L. Dennis. The movie won an academy award for Best Makeup.




The Dude from "The Big Lebowski"

The Coen brothers, who directed the film, actually had a friend named Jeff Dowd who was the inspiration behind the now legendary "Dude."

Although he did have a job, Dowd's pension for White Russians, nickname, and general personality were given to Jeff Bridges' quirky character in the film.




Edna Mode from "The Incredibles"

The short and sassy fashion designer from this beloved Pixar film actually has her roots in Hollywood. Edith Head was a legendary movie costume designer who was nominated for 35 Academy Awards during her career.

She worked on over 400 movies, including Hitchcock films like "Vertigo" and "The Birds."




Popeye the Sailor

Popeye teaches children that smoking, fighting and spinach are the only three things you need to survive in life.

His creator, E.C. Segar, was based this character on a local tough guy named Frank "Rocky" Fiegel from his hometown of Chester, Illinois.

While the physical resemblance is obvious, his personality wasn't far off either.




Severus Snape from "Harry Potter"

Alan Rickman does a great job of portraying the grouchy potions teacher in the films, but author JK Rowling actually had a Snape of her own growing up!

He was her chemistry teacher, John Nettleship. Though at first put-off by the idea, Nettleship eventually took pride in his fictionalization as the strict professor. He passed away in 2011.




Dirty Harry

In addition to being the real life chief investigator on the Zodiac Killer case, David Toschi also inspired the entire Dirty Harry franchise.

The film mirrors the investigation of the Zodiac killings, with Clint Eastwood trying to track down a notorious killer.

Unfortunately, Toschi never got his man and the Zodiac killer is still at large.




Indiana Jones

While Harrison Ford plays the dashing, brave, and adventurous archaeologist in the Indiana Jones films, the character itself was based on several real people.

The most apparent connection is to professor Hiram Bingham III, who taught at Yale University. This is the man who re-discovered Machu Piccu, and was basis for the character Harry Steele in the 1954 film "Secret of the Incas" with Charlton Heston.

The Indy creators admit that Jones' character is based primarily on Steele.




Norman Bates from "Psycho"

Who would have guessed that the creepy killer/mama's boy in "Psycho," the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface, and Buffalo Bill were all loosely based on the same real life serial killer?

Ed Gein, who was a brutal murderer in Wisconsin in the 1950s- inspired three of these notorious horror characters.

Gein, like Bates, was devoted to pleasing his strict mother. And in the fashion of Buffalo Bill, attempted to create a "woman's skin suit" out of his victim's remains.




Zorro

Although most memorably played by Antonio Banderas, Zorro has been a sword fighting, swashbuckling vigilante since the early 1900s.

His character was based on the "Mexican Robin Hood," a man named Joaquin Murrieta. Murrieta was a gold miner whose family was attacked.

When he was unable to get justice legally, he created a gang to get revenge. They robbed banks and committed murders until Murrieta was killed in 1853 by the Texas Rangers.




Kramer from "Seinfeld"

Many people know Cosmo Kramer as Jerry Seinfeld's kooky neighbor. But Kenny Kramer is the real life former neighbor of Seinfeld co-creator Larry David.

The real Kramer, like his character on the show, tried to make money in ridiculous ways, including taking folks on a bus tour of his life.

He actually did end up creating a very successful type of electronic jewelry.