Like the idiosyncratic characters of the animated series Bob’s Burgers and their new movie, inspiration can arise from a number of different sources. It can be derived from an animator’s unique imagination and vision. On the other hand, characters can have a basis in reality or even have a singular person as the basis for their design.
Since famous people in the public eye can have an effect on viewers and audiences, it should come as no surprise that many famous people have served as the inspiration for multiple animated television characters. For some animated characters, the parallels between them and their real-life counterparts are crystal clear while others are more subtle.
10 Troy McClure (The Simpsons) – Troy Donahue
In The Simpsons, Troy McClure is a washed-up actor who engages in different ways with the Simpson family. One of which is when Troy marries Aunt Selma to further his down-in-the-dumps career. Troy McClure is not completely made from the animator’s imagination though.
He takes inspiration from the actor Troy Donahue, who was a sex symbol in the 50s and early 60s, as noted in Digital Spy. In addition to taking inspiration from Troy Donahue, the actor Doug McClure also helped in the creation of the Simpson’s character, revealed in Mental Floss.
9 Archie (The Archie Show) – Mickey Rooney
Archie is a red-headed teen who enjoys his time playing in a band with his Riverdale High friends. The Saturday Morning cartoon series, The Archie Show was based on the Archie comics.
The character of Archie was actually based on Mickey Rooney in the Andy Hardy film series of which Rooney was the star, as stated in Mental Floss. The move was party done to have the comics appeal to Rooney’s fan base, according to the Mighty Crusaders. As the comics became a success, the creators kept the Mickey Rooney inspiration in all the incarnations of Archie Andrews, including the late 60s cartoon series.
8 Filbert (Rocko’s Modern Life) – Woody Allen
Rocko’s Modern Life followed wallaby Rocko and his friends Heffer and Filbert. Filbert is a neurotic, clean freak turtle who has to wash his hands with each turn of a comic book page. Filbert is often prone to bouts of nausea when he’s nervous, which is frequent.
This neuroses-filled turtle is based on the neurotic Woody Allen, who often wrote and played characters that were anxiety-ridden and were over analytic, as shown in Nickelodeon South East Asia. Filbert and Woody Allen share many common characteristics that even casual watchers of both works would recognize.
7 Dale (Chip And Dale Rescue Rangers) – Tom Selleck
Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers was a TV show that aired from 1988 to 1990. The show follows everyone’s favorite chipmunk brothers Chip and Dale as they form a detective agency. Given the show’s plot, the animators decided to base Dale’s appearance on Tom Selleck’s Magnum P.I character, revealed in Showbiz Cheat Sheet.
Both share a red and yellow Hawaiian shirt and a penchant for detective work. Magnum P.I was ending when this Disney cartoon show came out, so Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers kept the Hawaiian shirt trend going.
6 Dr. Mephesto (South Park) – Marlon Brando
Dr. Mephesto is an occasional character who pops up from time to time on South Park, more specifically in the early seasons of the show. He is a deranged scientist who engages in some unorthodox experiments.
The character is based on another character who was a mad scientist played by the screen icon Marlon Brando. In the 1996 film, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Brando played the titular Dr. Moreau who turns animals into grotesque humanoid versions of themselves. Although there is no official confirmation that Brando’s Moreau was the inspiration, it’s very clear that the inspiration is there. In fact, Mephesto is even a member of a Marlon Brando lookalike association.
5 Mr. Magoo – W.C Fields
Both the cartoon and the inspiration for the character are pretty dated references, with many younger audiences not aware of either. Mr. Magoo was a cartoon character based on a comics series while W.C Fields was a comedian, writer, juggler, and actor who was known for his character of a hard-drinking, curmudgeon who secretly has a heart of gold.
The looks of both are clear parallels with the most obvious similarity in looks being Mr. Magoo having W.C Field’s trademark bulbous nose, which was discussed in an interview with Jules Engel.
4 Chuckie Finster (Rugrats) – Mark Mothersbaugh
Chuckie Finster is the nervous youngster and best friend to Tommy Pickles in the 90’s flagship Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats. It is not often that a member of the show’s music department acts as a model to one of the characters. However, this is the case for Chuckie Finster as he is based on the show’s composer Mark Mothersbaugh, noted in The Source.
Namely, Mothersbaugh serves as the appearance model for Chuckie, as both have freckles and wide-rimmed glasses with wild hair. In addition to being the composer of the show along with other movies and series, Mothersbaugh is also the lead singer of new wave band Devo, the band behind the hit “Whip It”.
3 Rainier Wolfcastle (The Simpsons) – Arnold Schwarzenegger
An action star turned politician from Austria is a description that defines both Simpson’s character Rainier Wolfcastle and actor, bodybuilder, and ex-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, written in Digital Spy.
Acting as a parody of the Predator star Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wolfcastle is one of Springfield’s biggest stars with an action franchise not dissimilar to Arnie. Likewise, Wolfcastle was married to a relative of the JFK-influenced Mayor and eventually takes up politics himself. For fans of Schwarzenegger, these would all sound familiar as they are all traits of the real-life actor.
2 Eric Cartman – Carroll O’Connor
Many would not assume that Cartman’s character basis would be the middle-aged patriarch of the classic 70s sitcom All in the Family, Archie Bunker. Carroll O’Connor played Bunker for the show’s duration in addition to reprising the character in Archie Bunker’s Place from 1979 to 1983.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker are fans of All in the Family and used Archie’s bigoted and loud-mouthed personality as an inspiration for the character of the morally corrupt, loud-mouthed Eric Cartman as told in Uproxx.
1 Bugs Bunny – Clark Gable
Bugs Bunny is one of the most famous cartoon characters to have ever existed. The hare has been in a number of media, from shorts, movies, and of course, the beloved series Looney Tunes. It may be surprising that one of the biggest stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age inspired Bugs Bunny.
Clark Gable’s scene in It Happened One Night led to the fast-talking and irreverent attitude of Bugs, according to MeTv. Moreover, a scene in the film when Gable gnaws on a carrot mirrors Bugs Bunny famous catchphrase while he chomps down on a carrot.
NEXT: 10 Animated Movie Characters Based On Famous People