06/23/2015 10:41 am ET | Updated Jun 23, 2015

9 Fictional Characters And Their Real-Life Inspirations

You may be surprised to learn that many of the most recognizable fictional characters in pop culture were inspired by real people. Sorry, we know that throws a wrench in your dream sketches. But good news -- now you can see what those real-life inspirations actually look like!

1. J.K. Rowling based Professor Snape on her own Chemistry teacher, John Nettleship.

snape harry potter real

Image: White Hound / WikiCommons

2. Wendy, of Wendy's burger chain, was the nickname of founder Dave Thomas' daughter.

wendy thomas

Image: Flickr user marada

3. Author Ian Fleming had multiple characters in his espionage series remark that James Bond looked like singer Hoagy Carmichael.


Image: Getty

4. Alice Liddell inspired family friend Lewis Carroll to write Alice's Adventures in Wonderland when she was just 10.


Image: WikiCommons

5. Poet John Gray is thought to be the true Dorian Gray of Oscar Wilde's story.

dorian gray

Image: WikiCommons

6. Dr. Joseph Bell inspired the character of Sherlock Holmes.

sherlock holmes

Image: Flavorwire / WikiCommons

7. Christopher Robin Milne and his teddy bear became the main Winnie the Pooh characters in his father's stories.

8. Uncle Sam was a real person named Samuel Wilson.


Image: WikiCommons / Getty

9. Wrestling-star Maurice Tillet is rumored to be the inspiration for DreamWorks' Shrek.

maurice tillet

Image: Associated Press


  • Captain America: The First Avenger
    "Even superheroes can't escape from the wrath of house chores."
  • The Great Gatsby
    "Nothing screams 'greatness' more than ironing your intimates in front of a toilet. Yup. Real #classy, Leo."
  • The 40 Year-Old Virgin
    "#Abstinence never looked this hot."
  • The Amazing Spiderman
    "Sometimes being a superhero really sucks."
  • The Terminator
    "I'll be back. After this grueling workout."
  • The Mask
    "Sssomebody stop me. From rockin' this hand gesture."
  • Edward Scissorhands
    "I think the orange fro really adds Depp to his character."
  • Fight Club
    "The soap thing was just the start. We're venturing into cleaning services now."