Five more fictional characters and their real life inspirations.

Five more fictional characters and their real life inspirations.

Five months ago I made a post about the inspirations behind five fictional characters, the link can be found below. Originally that post contained ten entries but I thought that would be too many and cut the post in half. This is part two. Enjoy.

1)      Dracula- Vlad the Impaler

Dracula was the vampire that started the genre. He was created by Bram Stoker for his novel Dracula. While we know vampires like to suck blood, have some sort of negative effect to sunlight, lack a shadow or reflection and sometimes have super strength and speed  Dracula could also hypnotise his prey, control animals, stick to walls, control the weather and shape shift into anything he pleased.

Who inspired Dracula? Vlad the Impaler. He was a ruler in the Balklands from 1456 to 1462 and known for his cruelty. According to the stories he would burn down whole villages for sport, feed corpses to his prisoners and take pleasure in torturing his victims of which there were between 40,000 to 100,000. The nickname “The Impaler” came from the idea that he impaled 20,000 people on spears. Vlad’s last name was Dracula and whether Stoker simply liked that name or used the stories of Vlad and worked from there remains unknown.

2)      Jabba the Hut- Sydney Greenstreet.

Jabba the Hut is a space slug/crime lord from the Star Wars Universe. He’s most notable appearance is in Episode Six in which he forced Leia/Carrie Fisher to wear a metal bikini. He also has minor appearances in Episode One, a deleted scene in Episode Four and he can be found in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Jabba was a puppet and it took three crew members to operate him. The brief the production team had when designing  Jabba was “alien and grotesque … just like Sydney Greenstreet.” Sydney Greenstreet was an actor known for playing overweight criminals. The team had a picture of Sydney and made it weirder until it became a space slug.

3)      The Joker-  Conrad Veidt’s portrayal of Gwynplaine.

The Joker is easily the most popular villain in the comic book world and arguably one of the most popular comic books characters. He has had many incarnations in both films and comics most recently by Heath Ledger. Jared Leto will be portraying The Joker in 2016’s Suicide Squad.

There’s an argument over who created the character of the Joker. Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson had a hand in the process but their accounts vary. It’s widely accepted that Bill Finger is credited for basing Joker’s looks after the actor Conrad Veidt’s character Gwynplaine in the silent movie The Man Who Laughs. Like Joker, Gwynplaine has cut his face into a permanent grin as seen below.


4)      Shrek- Maurice Tillet

Shrek was a massive hit in 2001. The successes of the film led to three sequels, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After and a prequel Puss in Boots. The ogre has won the hearts of millions of children and adults alike.


The design team is said to have modelled Shreks’s looks of the boxer Maurice Tillet also known as the French Angel. Looking at his picture it’s easy to see why.

5)   Professor Moriarty – Adam Worth

Moriarty is Sherlock Holmes’ most famous villain and has been used in countless adaptations despite the fact he only featured in two of the original Sherlock stories. He is “The Napoleon of Crime” and “the famous scientific criminal”. He is one of the few villains to beat Sherlock by forcing the consulting detective to fake his own death.Who was the real Moriarty?


The closest match to the real Moriarty is Adam Worth who shared the title of The Napoleon of Crime. He led a criminal underworld in both Victorian London and New York. Similar to Moriarty he never revealed himself to the public or the police. Simon Newcomb has also been suggested. He was a famous mathematician with a spiteful side and destroyed the lives of his rivals and competitors.

Which one of these entries surprised you? The link for the original post can be found below.

Five fictional characters inspired by real people

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time.

5 Replies to “Five more fictional characters and their real life inspirations.”

  1. Ah yes, I’ve always liked the story of Vlad the Impaler as the real count dracula- even if it is a bit gruesome! I didn’t know about any of the others! So interesting- great post! 🙂

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