Everyone gets inspiration from somewhere, including the talented team of writers, animators and voice actors of The Simpsons. After twenty-six seasons, the world’s favorite animated sitcom continues to introduce us to zany characters with surprising wit and complexity, but most of them don’t materialize out of thin air. In fact, many of the show’s most beloved cartoon personalities were partially or fully based on celebrities, actors, and even characters from other TV shows. The show’s use of cinematic pastiche creates a rich world brimming with wonderfully satirical takes on celebrities, politicians and public figures.
Even the main Simpsons characters have roots in the real world. Whether they be based on a person’s voice, mannerisms, looks, or life story, these 18 real-life inspirations for Simpsons characters may just change the way you view some of your favorite Springfield residents.
Without a doubt, Homer Simpson is one of the most beloved characters in television history. According to Dan Castellaneta, who voices Homer and a host of other Springfield residents, says the original inspiration for his voice was character actor Walter Matthau.
Barney, the portly, perpetually drunken patron of Moe’s Tavern was inspired by a character from The Jackie Gleason Show. Much like his cartoon counterpart, “Crazy Guggenheim” was fond of drinking and babbling nonsense.
“Don’t have a cow, man.”
Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, was apparently quite disappointed that the animated version of Dennis the Menace toned down the eponymous character’s mischievousness. Thus, Bart (an anagram for “brat”) was born; he’s the ultimate scamp and the closest thing to a true Dennis the Menace adaption on TV.
Springfield’s own Mayor Quimby is pretty clearly based on U.S. President John F. Kennedy. His voice and mannerisms portray a kind of aged take on the late politician. Even his wife bears a striking resemblance to JFK’s wife, Jackie.