Some of the most famous Disney films, and some of their characters and cartoons have been inspired by real people. Whether for aesthetics or because they actually share personality traits, sometimes it’s hard to believe some of these characters were based on someone real.
Some are famous, other simple models who posed and were immortalized, but the truth is that thanks to them we have characters for some of the best fairytales and stories on earth.
Do you know who inspired the character of Peter Pan?
Peter Pan is a fictional character created by the Scottish writer James Matthew Barrie for a play released in London the 27 of December of 1904 named Peter Pan and Wendy. The child was inspired by a friend of the author, but Disney used another boy.
Bobby Driscoll was the boy who inspired Peter Pan
Peter Pan, in the animated film of 1954, was inspired by the young actor Bobby Driscoll. This boy was an American child actor who worked in movies and television between 1943 and 1960.
Do you know who inspired the character of Snow White?
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated feature film produced by Walt Disney and the first included in the Disney Classics. It was released on December 21, 1937 at the Carthay Circle Theater in Hollywood.
The real Snow White was called Marge Champion
Marjorie Celeste "Marge" Champion (born September 2, 1919) was an American dancer, choreographer and actress. At an early age she was hired as a dance model for animated films at Walt Disney Studios. She later served as an actress and dancer in film musicals, and in 1957 she had a television program based where she sang and danced.
Do you know who inspired the character of Maleficent?
Maleficent is an American fantasy film based on the evil witch and fairy antagonist of the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty, and is based on the homonymous fairy tale of Charles Perrault and the Grimm Brothers.
Eleanor Audley was the real Maleficent
Eleanor Audley (November 19, 1905 - November 25, 1991) was an American voice, radio and television actress. The makers of this Disney film were greatly inspired by her looks for the characterization of Maleficent.
Do you know who inspired the character of Captain Hook?
Captain James Hook is a fictional character of Peter Pan, created by J. M. Barrie, who is captain of the Jolly Roger, a pirate ship and nemesis of the magical flying child who never grows old.
Hans Conried gave life to Captain Hook
To recreate Captain Hook the cartoonists were inspired by the American comedian Hans Conried. Hans Georg Conried, Jr. was a renowned american comedian and actor of who was popular at that time.
Do you know who inspired the character of Alice in Wonderland?
The beautiful blond girl from one of the most fascinating films in history, Alice in Wonderland, is a real character Lewis Carroll knew, and it was her who inspired the whole story, and although she wasn’t the same person that Disney used to characterize Alice for the film, they took care of looking for someone who looked very much like her.
Kathryn Beaumont inspired the character of Alice in Wonderland
Kathryn Beaumont is a British film and voice actress, as well as a singer and teacher. She was known for having lent her voice in the Disney versions of Alice in Wonderland.
Robin Williams Inspired Genie of the Lamp
This is perhaps the example of a person who inspired an animated character better known by us all: Robin Williams, the beloved american comedian, basically helped bring genie to life. It weren't only his face expressions or his gestures that that inspired the creators of Aladdin film to give life to the famous genie of the lamp. In addition based off most characterization, the charismatic actor lent his voice to the character.
Robin Williams also gave the voice to the Genie of the Lamp
After his death in August 2014, the Disney factory wanted to pay tribute to the actor with a beautiful black and white image in which appears the face of the Genie aligned by stars in the sky, accompanied by an emotional message to the missing actor.
The villain of The Little Mermaid is inspired by a curious character
Ursula is the main villain of the Walt Disney movie "The Little Mermaid". Ursula is the wicked witch of the sea. She is greedy, and desires at all costs to have the attention of all and the beauty of Ariel.
Ursula is inspired by the famous Divine
Harris Glenn Milstead better known by his stage name Divine was an American actor and singer, known mainly for his characterization as the drag queen Divine, a character that gave him absolute fame. This character was the main inspiration for Urusla's looks.
Do you know who inspired the character of Pocahontas?
Pocahontas was the eldest daughter of Chief Powhatan, head of the Algonquin confederacy in Virginia. In Algonquian language, her real name was Matoaka, but she was known by her nickname Pocahontas, who meant "the playful one".
Disney's Pocahontas was inspired by Irene Bedard
While Pocahontas was a real person, there were few records of what she looked like. This is why Disney turned to Irene Bedard, an American actress known for her performances in Native American movies. It was she who served as a model for the famous cartoon character.
Do you know who inspired Phil's character in Hercules?
Hercules is a children's animated film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, and it tells the story of Hercules, son of Zeus, which is a classic story of greek mythology.
Phil was inspired by none other than Danny De Vito
Daniel Michael "Danny" DeVito, Jr. is an American actor, director and producer. Awarded the Golden Globe Awards and Emmy for his participation in the comedy situation Taxi, he was the insipiration for chartoonist to bring Phil to life.
We all know who inspired to make The Little Mermaid
In perhaps one of the most well-known cases, Disney relied heavely on teen star Alyssa Milano in the late 80's to characterize their main character for "The Little Mermaid", Princess Ariel.
Alyssa Milano was the actress that Disney chose to make Ariel, The Little Mermaid
The interpreter, who already had a prosperous career in Hollywood, was the model of inspiration in the creation of Ariel. However, the curious thing about the story is that the actress didn’t know that her face had served to give life to the sweet siren until a later time. It was in the year 2013, during an interview in the program The Wendy Williams Show when Milano officially confirmed the worst-kept secret of Disney.
Aladdin is an exact copy of Tom Cruise
Aladdin is one of the stories of Syrian origin from The Thousand and One Nights and one of the most famous in Eastern culture. The story is about a poor young man in a Middle Eastern city called Aladdin, who is recruited by an evil sorcerer, posing as the brother of his late father, to help him recover a wonderful oil lamp from a magical cave that holds Who enters it.
Why is Aladdin inspired by Tom Cruise?
At that time, Tom Cruise was one of the most sought after actors on the market, and that's why everyone loved him and everyone wanted to be like him. This was one of the reasons why it was Disney's decision to take may of Aladdin's features from Tom.