Where does the inspiration for TV characters come from? Well, sometimes actors and writers hit up the other great popular art form for ideas – the cinema. We’re not talking about characters that have transferred over from movies, but rather where TV has looked to the stars of the silver screen as its muse.
Homer Simpson – Walter Matthau
Although Dan Castellaneta’s vocal performance has changed drastically over the last 25 years, you can still hear the remnants of comic actor Matthau’s slurpy tones in Homer’s delivery. TV’s most crap-tacular Dad has kept alive Matthau’s signature phone greeting ”Myello.” As usual, ‘The Simpsons’ knows where to steal from.
Kramer – Christopher Lloyd
Though Jason Alexander claims that his portrayal of ‘Seinfeld”s George Costanza was just as much a rip-off of Woody Allen as Michael Richard’s Kramer was of Lloyd, the physical resemblance between the latter two is much harder to ignore. Kramer is Lloyd down to the actor’s way of opening doors.
Lieutenant Frank Columbo – Humphrey Bogart
As Peter Falk demonstrated in detective spoof ‘Murder By Death,’ the actor does just about the best Bogie impersonation out there. So it’s no surprise that his iconic police inspector alter-ego has the gravelly voice and uncouth mannerisms of the great Hollywood star. Here’s looking at you looking at us.
Vincent Chase – Mark Wahlberg
The HBO comedy ‘Entourage’ about a movie star and his community of professional lackeys was produced by Wahlberg and based on his own experiences in Hollywood. In the wake of his family’s reality show ‘Wahlburgers,’ featuring the real-life versions of many of the characters, the resemblance gets more and more transparent.
Raylan Givens – Clint Eastwood
If anyone in Hollywood is thinking of remaking ‘Dirty Harry,’ they should contact Timothy Olyphant’s agent immediately. Not only is Raylan a mash-up of Eastwood’s cop and cowboy characters (or in the case of Coogan’s Bluff, both), but he also has that same coat hanger-in-the-jacket gait as the legendary western actor and director.