Disney is a big part of everyone’s childhood,
and while you might think of it as classic entertainment that’s
been made specifically for kids, it has a long history of being
influenced by popular culture. What you might think was created by
Disney out of nothing, might’ve actually been a direct result of
something that was popular in the media when the movie was being
made. Did you know that quite a few characters in Disney were
directly inspired by celebrities? Here are a few Disney characters
you’re definitely familiar with but probably had no idea which
celebrities inspired them. But once you see them side by side it’ll
all start making sense.
Maleficent – Eleanor Audley
might know that Eleanor Audley voices the character of Maleficent,
but few know that she was also asked to actually act out scenes from
the movie in front of cameras so that later on the animators could
use them as references in their work. So, in the end, they used not
only her movements and gestures as inspiration for the animated
movie, but her features also inspired the appearance of Maleficent.
And as a bonus, she was also the inspiration behind Cinderella’s
evil stepmother. Does this mean that Eleanor just looks evil by
nature or do we all see these features as evil because Disney
essentially created the stereotype out of Eleanor?
Mad Hatter – Ed Wynn
Wynn gave his voice to the mad hatter, but once you see what the
actor looked like, you’ll understand that it’s not just the voice
that he and the Mad Hatter have in common. The Alice in Wonderland
character he voices is basically Ed in cartoon form. Disney actually
heavily based the Mad Hatter’s personally on Ed Wynn.
Scat Cat — Louis Armstrong
you haven’t watched Aristocats as a child – you need to watch it
now. It’s such a masterpiece. Originally Scat Cat was meant to be
named Satchmo and he was supposed to be voiced by the famous Louis
Armstrong. But unfortunately, Armstrong had some health problems that
stopped him from voicing the character and Disney hired Scatman
Crothers to fulfil the role instead.