7 Characters You Won't Believe Are Based On Real People


There’s a famous saying that truth is stranger than fiction, so it stands to reason that reality is simply more interesting than fiction. That is probably why writers so frequently base characters on people they have met, people who have quirkier and more interesting traits than anything the writer could conjure himself. Here is a list of some classic characters you may not have known were based on real people.

1. Dr. House — Dr. Thomas Bolte

Just like the character played by actor Hugh Laurie, Dr. Thomas Bolte is known for solving medical mysteries that no one else can. The creators of House were inspired by some of his medical cases and his somewhat eccentric behavior.

The in-demand physician, whose career took off after the series, says that rollerblading is the fastest way to zip along the New York city streets. So whenever he receives an urgent summons, he puts on his skates and takes off.

2. Dorian Gray — poet John Gray

The English poet John Gray, whom Oscar Wilde met at the end of the nineteenth century, became the prototype for Dorian Gray. Being a sophisticated, intelligent, handsome, and ambitious poet, John inspired the writer to create the character of young and impossibly beautiful Dorian Gray. Surprisingly, 30 years later, John Gray left his Bohemian life behind and became a Catholic priest.

3. Sherlock Holmes — Professor Joseph Bell

Conan Doyle created the character of Sherlock Holmes based on Dr. Joseph Bell, his professor and mentor at Edinburgh University Medical School. Bell shared many qualities with the famous detective: he was renowned for his superior intelligence and used his deductive powers to diagnose diseases and disabilities. "It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes," wrote Doyle in a letter to Bell in 1892.

4. James Bond — The "Ace of Spies" Sidney Reilly

There is a lot of debate about who the real-life inspiration for James Bond was, and he may have been inspired by several people. However, many agree that the character closely resembles the "Ace of Spies" — a British spy from Russia, Sidney Reilly.

A man with very little formal education, he was blessed with a remarkable talent for languages, liked to play politics and manipulate people, and developed a reputation as a womanizer. Reilly could instantly transform himself into another person, he failed none of his operations, and he was famous for knowing how to find out a solution to any problem.

5. Peter Pan — Michael Davies

The inspiration for J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan were the sons of his friends, Arthur and Sylvia Davies, and their son Michael in particular. Several of the characters in the book were named after the Davies boys, but Michael was the one who most influenced the creation of Peter Pan. The youngest Davies boy, Nico, later described his brother Michael as "the cleverest of us, the most original, the potential genius." When the boys’ parents died of cancer, Barrie became the guardian of Michael and his brothers.

6. Christopher Robin — Christopher Robin Milne

Christopher Robin Milne was the son of author A. A. Milne and the basis of the character Christopher Robin in his father’s Winnie the Pooh stories. As a child, he didn’t have a good relationship with his parents: his mother cared only for herself, and his father was busy writing books, so the child spent a lot of time with his nanny. His favorite toy was a teddy bear which his father had given him for his first birthday.

He later wrote: "There were two things that were then overshadowing my life and that I needed to escape from: my father’s fame and ’Christopher Robin.’"

7. "The Wolf of Wall Street" — stockbroker Jordan Belfort

In the photo on the left is Jordan Belfort, and it’s his biography that we see in The Wolf of Wall Street. The life of this broker had its ups and downs. First, he lived a luxurious and beautiful life, and almost two years later he was imprisoned for fraud in the stock market. After his release, Belfort found how to get a new use for his talents: he wrote 2 books about his life and began lecturing as a motivational speaker. According to Belfort, the main rule of success is "Act as if! Act as if you’re a wealthy man, rich already, and then you’ll surely become rich."

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