Bet You Didn’t Know These 18 Beloved Simpsons Characters Have Real Life Inspirations
1. Walter Matthau inspired Homer’s voice.
According to Dan Castellaneta, who voices Homer, this old school actor provided the inspiration for Homer’s quirky voice.
2. Barney Gumble was inspired by a character on The Jackie Gleason Show.
‘Crazy Guggenheim,’ a character on The Jackie Gleason Show, was fond of drinking and babbling nonsense, much like the drunken character he inspired.
3. Bart is a cartoon Dennis the Menace
Matt Groening was disappointed in the cartoon version of Dennis the Menace – he thought the movie toned down the character’s famous mischievousness. Bart, an anagram of ‘Brat’, is a tribute to that character.
4. Mayor Quimby is a JFK tribute.
This is a clear inspiration – Quimby’s voice and mannerisms are just an aged version of the late politician. Quimby’s wife even looks like Jackie Kennedy.
5. Professor Frink was inspired by Jerry Lewis.
Professor Frink was originally intended as a mad, evil genius. But when Hank Azaria came on and read Frink like Lewis’s character in the Nutty Professor, everyone was convinced. Frink was then re-written as a loveable nerd instead.
6. Bumblebee Man is a real Mexican TV character.
He always seems to be on TV in The Simpsons, and it’s much the same in Mexico. This guy is El Chapulín Colorado, or “The Red Grasshopper”.
7. Chief Wiggum has the voice of Edward G. Robinson.
Although the overall character isn’t based on anyone in particular, the voice-inspiration was taken straight from the Hollywood actor Edward G. Robinson.
8. Troy McClure was a mashup of two actors.
Ageing chisel-faced movie star Troy McClure is a mashup of two movie stars: Troy Donahue and Doug McClure. He also looks quite a bit like his voice actor, Phil Hartman. Hartman tragically died in a murder-suicide that was initiated by his mentally unstable wife. Instead of replacing him, The Simpsons creators decided to retire the character.
9. Dr Hibbert was taken from Dr Huxtable.
The Simpsons was moved into the same time slot of The Cosby Show, so Dr Hibbert was created as a funny bit of competition with Dr Huxtable.
10. Moe’s voice is a tribute to Al Pacino.
Did you think Moe’s voice sounds familiar? That’s because you heard it first coming out of Al Pacino’s mouth.
11. Itchy and Scratchy are parodies of Tom and Jerry.
This one’s a little obvious, but Itchy and Scratchy are just a violent version of Tom and Jerry, amped up to The Simpson’s characteristic level of insanity.
12. Ranier Wolfcastle is a cartoon Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yeah, you probably could’ve guessed this one.
13. Mr Burns has three inspirations.
Burns was inspired by two businessmen, Fred Olsen and Olav Thon, and Matt Groening’s high school teacher, Mr. Bailey. The rich, power-hungry traits come from the businessmen, but only Groening knows which of Mr. Bailey’s traits he channelled.
14. Duffman is mocking a Budweiser ad campaign.
‘Bud Man’ appeared throughout the 1980s in Budweiser’s ad campaigns. And he was just as crazy as Duffman.
15. Dr Nick was based on Elvis Presley’s doctor.
They didn’t even try to hide this one, considering Elvis’s doctor, George Nichopoulos, also goes by Dr Nick.
16. Otto is a bus driver version of Slash
Once you’ve seen Otto as the legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist, you can’t unsee it. Otto even collects snakes, just like Slash.
17. Krusty was based on a real clown.
‘Rusty Nails’ was a TV clown that performed when Groening was a kid, and Krusty’s act is lifted from his routine.