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!
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?’”
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!
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.
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.
just wanna remind y'all that ursula is gay culture. respect her!!!— JosieVision 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️✊🏾 (@ladymugsi) February 15, 2021
(left: divine, right: duh ursula) pic.twitter.com/G7re4CFJkh
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.
The fine art of rotoscope - the animation technique that animators use to trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, to produce realistic action. This is Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951). The actor is Kathryn Beaumont who was ten years old. She also did Alice's voice pic.twitter.com/hRrl9GkbnZ— ewan morrison (@MrEwanMorrison) September 4, 2020
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.
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.
Disney's 'Snow White' character model, dancer, and actress Marge Champion has died. https://t.co/a1XjqvOCVg— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) October 22, 2020
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."
Dr. Facilier - Michael Jackson pic.twitter.com/Ff06EEw3fl— Monopólio da Disney (@Monopoliodisney) June 9, 2020
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."
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.