It’s not a secret that a lot of TV characters have real-life counterparts…especially when they’re played by the same people theyre portraying! But there are several characters on TV whose real-life origins are far less apparent but no less real. Heres 10 that you might not know:
Ali G from “Da Ali G Show” (based on Tim Westwood)
Unbeknownst to American viewers, Sacha Baron Cohens racially ambiguous wannabe rapper star of HBO and FXX comedies was based on UK hip-hop DJ Tim Westwood, who – as a middle-class white man faking street cred.
Cosmo Kramer from “Seinfeld” (based on Kenny Kramer)
Hipster doofus Kramer was modelled on Seinfeld creator Larry David’s actual neighbour of the same (last) name. The resemblance continued as the fictional Kramer started his own autobiographical tour just as the real one did when the show became a hit.
Allison Dubois from Medium (based on Allison Dubois)
Despite the blonde hair the character isn’t based on Teresa Caputo from Long Island Medium, but on a psychic of the same name who also helps the police crack unsolvable cases.
Basil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers (based on Donald Sinclair)
Unsurprisingly, the inspiration for the unspeakably ill-mannered British hotelier played by John Cleese in the classic sitcom came from the manager of a resort the Monty Python production team encountered in the English seaside town of Torquay. According to Cleese, he gave Terry Gilliam lessons in how to cut his food!
Jay Landsman from The Wire (based on Jay Landsman)
It’s almost a given that most of the characters in TV’s most realistic police show (The Wire) are based on real people; but, not only is there a real Jay Landsman, his TV character bears his actual name. Landsman auditioned to play his on-screen incarnation…but he wasn’t convincing enough.
Don Draper from Mad Men (based on Draper Daniels)
Chicago copy man Daniels was the inspiration for Jon Hamms hard-living Madison Avenue ad executive in AMCs 60s period drama. Just as much of a maverick as Don and also from humble beginnings, Daniels managed to keep his marriage together and drinking in line. Thats why they call it fiction!
Walter White from Breaking Bad (based on Walter White)
The real-life Walter White seems to resemble the Breaking Bad antihero in all but geography! He is a meth dealer with a reputation for a pure product who was eventually discovered by authorities. Except he was from Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, instead of Albuquerque! So who is the one who knocks?
Dexter Morgan from Dexter (based on Manuel Pardo)
One of the most implausible ideas in Dexter is that there could be a serial killer lurking within the Miami police department. But this was the part of the show that was factual! Police officer Pardo murdered nine criminals. Rather than becoming a lumberjack, he was executed, which is worse…just!
Olivia Pope from Scandal (based on Judy Smith)
Sorry to disappoint you but were not breaking news of another Presidential sex scandal! Were just letting you know that White House crisis manager Olivia Pope from ABCs political thriller is based on Smith, a staffer in George W. Bushs administration. Smith serves as an executive producer on the show.
Abed Nadir from Community (based on Abed Gheith)
Played by Danny Pudi, Abed was based on Community creator Dan Harmons friend and collaborator Gheith, who even auditioned for the part. Gheith claims hes not as socially clueless as his fictional counterpart. But if Gheith was as naïve as Nadir, how would he know whether he was or wasnt?!