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10 Iconic Cartoon Characters Inspired By Real People





Most of us grew up watching cartoons on TV and so we’re likely familiar with the many iconic characters from our favorite animated shows. What some of us may not be aware of, however, is that cartoonists often created characters based on real people.

With creativity and imagination, creators drew inspiration from several individuals and used their personalities and distinct features to come up with some of the most popular characters ever in the history of animation.

Check out this cool list below and see for yourself:

1. W.C. Fields (Mr. Magoo)

Although cartoon writer Millard Kaufman clarified he initially didn’t base his character Mr. Magoo on W.C. Fields, that eventually changed. After several short films, creative directors decided to take cues from the comedian’s antics.

2. Frank “Rocky” Fiegel (Popeye the Sailor Man)

The resemblance is definitely uncanny in this one. E.C. Segar, creator of Popeye, grew up in Chester, Illinois where Frank ‘Rocky’ Fiegel is considered a local legend. He gained popularity for winning fistfights even when he was up against several opponents. And yes, he loves smoking pipe – just like our favorite spinach-eating sailor man!

3. Dennis Lloyd Ketcham (Dennis “The Menace” Mitchell)

Comic artist Hank Ketcham based Dennis ‘The Menace’ on his young son named, you guessed it, Dennis. Apparently, the boy made a lot of mess one day and Hank’s wife yelled “Your son is a menace” out of frustration. That stuck with him so he eventually sat down to draw a sketch.

4. Veronica Lake, Lauren Bacall, and Rita Hayworth (Jessica Rabbit)

Remember that sexy character from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ Of course! Who could forget Jessica Rabbit, right?

According to the creators, the character was inspired by three different women. Rita Hayworth, animation director Richard Williams’ seductive wife, was the main inspiration. Eventually, Veronica Lake and Lauren Bacall also influenced the character’s creation.

5. Margaret Kerry (Tinker Bell)

Initial rumors claim that Tinkerbell was inspired by actress Marilyn Monroe but that’s actually false. In reality, Disney’s most prominent fairy was based on another actress named Margaret Kerry.

6. Deadeye/Red Skelton (Yosemite Sam)

Red Skelton has risen to popularity for portraying numerous Western-themed characters, one of which was Deadeye. At first Yosemite Sam of Looney Tunes was based on director Fritz Freleng but Deadeye became a bigger inspiration for later episodes of the cartoon.

7. Percy Crosby (Skippy)

Writer Percy Crosby based Skippy on his younger self. The character, known for being quite a trouble maker, rose to popularity as many readers found him to be relatable.

8. Marjorie Henderson Buell (Little Lulu)

Little Lulu’s story is actually similar with the above-mentioned origin. Cartoonist Marjorie Henderson Buell based the character on herself as a child.

9. Henry

Technically, Carl Anderson’s Henry wasn’t based on a real person. Instead, history tells us that the author made a quick sketch for his students at a school and his drawing eventually became the inspiration for the titular character.

10. Mickey Rooney (Archie Andrews)

Ever read Archie comics? Or maybe seen the recent Riverdale show on CW? Well the iconic character was based on Mickey Rooney, a redhead teen who was a popular comedian during his time.

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