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15 Real People Who Served As Inspiration For Your Favorite Characters

OCTOBER 23, 2015  —  By Jason Lopez

15 Real People Who Served As Inspiration For Your Favorite Characters

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Ever wonder how the creators of your favorite movies and tv shows come up with their characters? Well, they usually just draw from personal experiences and real-life people.

Here are a few of your favorite characters and the people who inspired them.

COSMO KRAMER

COSMO KRAMER

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"Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David based Jerry's friend off of his personal experience with a neighbor. Kenny Kramer lived next door to David and his eccentric behavior and unique style led to the birth of Cosmo Kramer.

DON DRAPER

DON DRAPER

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Draper "Dan" Daniels was an ad legend in Chicago (known for creating the Marlboro Man ad) at the Leo Burnett agency in the 60s. The Mad Men character Don Draper is almost an identical image of Daniels (except his wife doesn't believe the show portrays his lifestyle correctly).

DIRTY HARRY

DIRTY HARRY

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Clint Eastwood's character (Harry Callahan) was inspired by inspector Dave Toschi, who famously hunted the Zodiac Killer in San Francisco during the '70s.

EDNA MODE

EDNA MODE

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Edna Mode is the costume designer for the Incredibles in the movie, but she was based off the real designer Edith Head. Head actually won 8 Oscars for her wardrobe designs throughout her career.

She was famous for her unique look (huge round glasses and short dark hair).

LUCY WHITMORE

LUCY WHITMORE

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In "50 First Dates," Lucy Whitmore is unable to remember anything that happened after her accident and keeps living the same day over and over. Well, this role was actually based off Michelle Philpots, who suffers from anterograde amnesia (her brain resets back to 1994 every day).

FRANK COSTELLO

FRANK COSTELLO

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The idea behind the infamous mobster Frank Costello (played by Jack Nicholson) from "The Departed" actually came from a real-life gangster. Whitey Bulger terrorized the Boston area with the Winter Hill Gang in the 70s and 80s.

(Spoiler: he was an FBI informant, just like in the movie).

JABBA THE HUTT

JABBA THE HUTT

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Sydney Greenstreet was famous for playing selfish and greedy gangsters (like in "The Maltese Falcon") — just like a certain space worm from "Star Wars."

George Lucas actually told his designers to make Jabba the Hutt look "more alien and grotesque, just like Sydney Greenstreet."

URSULA

URSULA

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The evil sea witch from "The Little Mermaid" was pretty accurately based off a popular drag-queen from the 70s. Harris Milstead (better known as Divine) dressed in drag for the film "Pink Flamingos" (along with several others during his career).

SEVERUS SNAPE

SEVERUS SNAPE

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Teachers often leave lasting impressions on students, and John Nettleship was no different. J.K. Rowling had Nettleship for a chemistry class in her youth and he inspired her to create Professor Severus Snape when writing the "Harry Potter" series.

TRAVIS BICKLE

TRAVIS BICKLE

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The crazy Robert De Niro character from "Taxi Driver" was based off of Arthur Bremer. Bremer was an awkward loner (just like Travis Bickle) who tried to gain attention by assassinating George Wallace.

Just like Bickle, he ultimately failed and was sentenced to 53 years in prison.

SOUP NAZI

SOUP NAZI

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Jerry Seinfeld based the "Soup Nazi" character off of chef Al Yeganeh who (you guessed it) ran a soup shop. And, in true soup nazi fashion, Yeganeh banned Seinfeld from the real-life shop when he found out about the character!

BUTTERS STOTCH

BUTTERS STOTCH

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Eric Stough is a producer for "South Park," and would always get teased by everyone for being so nice. The other producers would call him names, eventually landing on the name "Butters" (who then became the lovable character on the show).

SHREK

SHREK

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Before Mike Meyers voiced the character on the big screen, there was a real-life "Shrek" who walked the earth. Maurice Tillet was a French wrestler who was nicknamed "the freak ogre of the ring" because of his abnormal appearance.

He suffered from acromegaly (which causes thickening of the bones).

ROCKO

ROCKO

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When the producers of "Rocko's Modern Life" were pitching the idea to networks, they used a phrase that perfectly fit the character's persona. Rocko was described as "a young anthropomorphic Woody Allen who just moved away from his home into a surrealistic adult world."

THE DUDE

THE DUDE

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The Coen brothers didn't have to look too far for their main character in "The Big Lebowski." Jeff Dowd (a friend of the two brothers) basically was "the dude" before the script came out — his attitude, drink of choice, nickname and even parts of his own biography were used when putting this iconic character together.