10 Disney Characters Who Were Based On Real People

10 Disney Characters Who Were Based On Real People

How many of these did you know?

Disney animators are so talented in coming up with an array of distinct characters for the films they work on. Did you know some of them were inspired by real-life people? Let's take a look!

1. Jessica Rabbit — Rita Hayworth

Jessica Rabbit has been iconic since her appearance on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? While her look has been inspired by a number of actresses, she was mostly created to look like actress Rita Hayworth. "[Jessica is] the ultimate male fantasy, drawn by a cartoonist,” animator Richard Williams told The New York Times. ”I tried to make her like Rita Hayworth; we took her hair from Veronica Lake, and [director Robert Zemeckis] kept saying, ‘What about the look Lauren Bacall had?’”

(L) IMDb (R) American actress Rita Hayworth (1918 - 1987), 22nd July 1959. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

2. Edna Mode — Linda Hunt

Linda Hunt is best known as Operations Manager Hetty Lange in the CBS series NCIS Los Angeles. According to Express, Edna, the character in The Incredibles, is widely believed to have been inspired by costume designer Edith Head. But many can't deny the uncanny resemblance to Linda Hunt!

(L) IMDb 2004 Buena Vista Pictures Distribution (R) Actress Linda Hunt arrives at the CBS, CW, CBS Television Studio and Showtime TCA party at the Huntington Library on August 3, 2009 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

3. Ariel — Alyssa Milano

Princess Ariel from Disney’s 1989 animated hit The Little Mermaid was apparently based on Charmed actress Alyssa Milano. “I didn’t know that when it was going on, but they asked me to host the making of The Little Mermaid and it came out there that the drawing and likeness of The Little Mermaid was based on pictures of me from when I was younger, which is so cool,” Milano revealed during an appearance on The Wendy Williams Show, reports HuffPost.

(L) IMDb (R) Getty Images/ Hulton Archive/ Albert Ortega

4. Ursula — Divine

Glenn Milstead, also known as Divine, was a distinguished American actor and drag queen who is said to have inspired the evil sea-witch Ursula from The Little Mermaid.


5. Alice — Kathryn Beaumont

The protagonist in Alice in Wonderland was based on the actress Kathryn Beaumont who also lent her voice to the role at just 10 years old.


6. Cruella de Vil — Tallulah Bankhead

According to Eat Drink Films, Marc Davis, the head of the animation conceived Cruella who was first seen on screen in the 1961 movie A Hundred and One Dalmatians as a combination of Bette Davis, Rosalind Russell, and Tallulah Bankhead.


7. Snow White — Marge Champion

Marge Champion auditioned for the role of Snow White at just 14 years old where she had to create the movement that animators could replicate. Her elegance and delicate movements of dancing helped her get the role.


8. Dr. Facilier — Michael Jackson

Dr. Facilier, the villain in the movie The Princess and the Frog, was supposedly based on Michael Jackson. If you keep your eyes peeled you'll notice Michael Jackson's choreography in various scenes. Animator Bruce W. Smith was mostly inspired by Michael Jackson and Usher, saying, "As I began drawing him out, I realized he had to be very thin, and I had to be able to move him across the screen. I thought about guys like Michael Jackson and Usher and the types of moves they'd have as they would sort of scurry across the screen."


9. Genie — Robin Williams

Directors Ron Clements and John Musker wanted Robin Williams to play the Genie so bad that they based the character around him! According to Buzzfeed, Eric Goldberg, the supervising animator for the character, said that the Genie totally embodied Robin Williams and the voice actor would even go off-script. Goldberg shared, "We didn't expect him to come back with all the celebrity impressions the first time we recorded him, so we re-adapted. We incorporated Robin's riffs into the fabric of the film."


10. Scat Cat — Louis Armstrong

Scat Cat from Disney's 1970 animated feature film The Aristocats was a role originally written for Louis Armstrong, the iconic jazz singer and trumpeter. The character of Scat Cat was designed to be voiced by Louis Armstrong. Unfortunately, due to health problems, Armstrong couldn’t be part of the project, according to Brightside.


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