Turns Out, There Are a Whole Bunch of Disney Characters Based on Real People

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Have you ever wonder how Disney’s creators have managed to come up with so many amazing characters?

Well, it turns out they take a little inspiration from the outside world. From movements and gestures to appearance, characters are often inspired by or based on real people and, in some cases, celebrities.

Now, we all know the 4 vultures fromThe Jungle Book, right? Well as per, Bright Side, the filmmakers in charge of the book-to-film adaptation of the classic story came up with the idea to include a cameo from The Beatles.

The Beatles were supposed to provide the voices for the 4 vultures, who have hairstyles based on those of the band members. Not only that, but they actually sing a Beatles song, ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ in the movie! I don’t know how we’d never noticed before! Sadly though, one of the members of the band preferred not to appear in the film, so, instead of the original plan going ahead, the vultures simply spoke in an accent similar to the boys’, but were voiced by other actors.

Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty was also based on a real person. Eleanor Audley, the voice of Maleficent, inspired the movements and face of Maleficent.

Audley was asked by filmmakers to perform and film the scenes in order to help animators to produce the character.

Another Disney character based on a real person is The Mad Hatter. One of the most distinctive characters in Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter was inspired by actor, Ed Wynn, who also voiced the character.

Next up is The Incredibles character, Edna Mode. Edna is said to have been originally based on the life of fashion designer, Edith Head, Bright Side reports. However, although Edna’s character is said to be based on Head’s life, her looks are an almost perfect resemblance to the actress, Linda Hunt.

Hunt’s short, blunt haircut and circular glasses are almost an exact match for theThe Incredibles character.

Scat Cat from The Aristocats was based on, not just a real person, but also one we know very well.

Originally, the character of Scat Cat was written for the jazz singer, Louis Armstrong. Filmmakers intended for Armstrong to voice the cat, who was originally going to be named Satchmo the Cat, however, he could not be a part of the film due to health problems.

As a result, the part was recast to the musician, Scatman Crothers, and the character, renamed to Scat Cat.

And, finally, another character based on a real person is Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Bright Side reports that the people behind the Disney film wanted to portray the character as a beautiful, sweet, and contemporary young woman, so they sought inspiration from the mannerisms and movements of Alyssa Milano.

Milano only discovered that the inspiration behind Ariel was based on her after she was invited to present a documentary where the producers showed how the movie was made, revealing that filmmakers had used pictures of her during her teenage years.

Other characters based on real people include Snow White, based on the dancer Marge Champion; Cruella de Vil, who was inspired by Tallulah Bankhead; Ursula, based on the American actor and drag queen Harris Glenn Milstead, also known as Divine; and Jessica Rabbit, with appearance inspiration from Rita Hayworth.

Can you name any other Disney characters that are based on real people?