15 Fictional Characters You Didn’t Know Were Based On Real People

Published January 18, 2018

From film to literature, these sensational fictional characters are actually more real that you would have thought.

Norman Bates and Ed Gein
Zorro and Joaquín Murrieta
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joseph Bell
Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and Randall “Duke” Cunningham
15 Fictional Characters You Didn’t Know Were Based On Real People
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Many movies are accompanied by the phrase "based on a true story" when they feel the events they depict are close enough to reality to claim them as fact.

But what about the many fictional works that may have lone characters or events based on reality, while other aspects of the narratives are pure fiction?

Often, we audience members are left in the dark about what aspects of these works are based on real people. While some characters are obvious in who they parody or imitate, others are harder to pin down but have also been based on real people.

Even many of those that were once obvious references to figures of popular culture have become more obscure as they outlive their own inspirations.

Hundreds of the characters from movies, TV, and books were once based on other, real people, but as they have become ubiquitous, we have begun to think of them as unique entities.

Here are some characters from fiction that you might not know where drawn from the lives of real people.

Next, check out the real-life hotel that The Shining is based on. Then, take a look at these nine X-Files episodes that were inspired by real-life events.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting.