The Inspiration Behind the Simpsons Supporting Characters

See which famous people inspired those classic characters…

The Simpsons has been a huge inspiration in my life and work. It has some the best references and homages to film, TV and pop culture. It’s has also featured the most celebrity guest appearances out of any TV show.

But what has influenced this great show? What people and have inspired those classic characters?

We know that the whole of the Simpsons family were inspired and share the same names as creator Matt Groening’s own family, but what do we know about those supporting characters such as Moe, Krusty and Duffman?

Apparently every character that features in the Simpsons has been inspired by a famous actor or somebody the writers know in real life. Here’s a great list of some of our favourite supporting characters and who inspired them.

Rainier Wolfcastle & Arnold Schwarzenegger

Okay, this one is an obvious one. He’s a carbon copy of our favourite action hero Arnie. From his look to his thick accent, the film characters he plays, and even venturing into a political career in the Simpsons movie.

Duffman & Bud Man

Duff Man is based on the Budweiser mascot from the the 1969 ad campaign.  “Oh Yeah.”

Troy McClure & Doug McClure

Retired B-Movie actor Doug McClure once asked his family “Are they making fun of me?” when him and his family were watching an episode of the Simpsons back in the 90s. The looks and voice are spot on. Although I’m sure Doug didn’t have a weird fish fetish!

Dr Julius Hibbert & Dr. Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby)

It’s another obvious one here. With Dr. Hibbert’s joking manner, familiar chuckle and awful taste in sweaters all based on Bill Cosby’s Dr. Huxtable from the Cosby Show.

Moe Szyslak & Rich Hall + Al Pacino from Dog Day Afternoon

Although Hank Azaria originally based the voice on Al Pacino’s character in Dog Day Afternoon, Matt Groening has admitted that Simpsons writer George Meyer based it on his friend and comedian Rich Hall. They look and sound uncanny!

Mayor “Diamond” Joe Quimby & Ted & John F. Kennedy

With his thick Boston accent and womanising ways he is clearly based on John F. Kennedy and other members of the Kennedy clan.

Drederick Tatum & Mike Tyson

This one is another easy one. Everything about Drederick Tatum is based on Mike Tyson. The lisping voice, the love of exotic animals, the money problems and the violent criminal record.

Tyson says “I wasn’t aware of him until somebody told me. I didn’t pay it much attention, but I’m used to people making cartoon characters of me so I’ve never seen it as offensive. I’m not some superhero, I’m just an entertainer.”

I couldn’t actually believe this one.  But as soon as you see him you can see he is definitely the actual inspiration for Bumblebee man. Chespirito is a national hero in his own country.

Barney Gumble & Crazy Guggenheim (Frank Fontaine)

Our favourite drunk Barney Gumble is actually based on another drunk called Crazy Guggenheim from The Jackie Gleason Show.

Dr. Nick Riviera & Dr. George Nichopoulos

This one probably wasn’t obvious, but Dr. Nick is based on Elvis Presley’s infamous physician, who kept ‘The King’ supplied with many, many prescription drugs. He was struck off as a doctor in 1995.

Itchy & Scratchy & Tom & Jerry

This is the easiest one on the list. Although Itchy & Scratchy is a lot more violent.

Gil Gunderson & Shelley Levene (Jack Lemon)

Based on Jack Lemon’s loser character Shelley Levine from the film Glengarry Glen Ross.

Captian Lance Murdock & Evel Knievel

A total homage to the legendary American stunt artist “Evel” Knievel.

Bleeding Gums Murphy & LeRoi Moore

Bleeding Gums look is clearly based on jazz legend LeRoi Moore, but his life is inspired by the real life story of another jazz legend Sonny Rollins.

Capital City Goofball & The Phillie Phanatic

The inspiration is obvious. The Capital City Goofball mascot is clearly based on creepy looking ‘Phillies Phanatic’.

Arthur Crandall & Gabbo & Otto & The Great Gabbo

They didn’t even changed the name on this one. The foul-mouthed Gabbo is based on the 1929 film The Great Gabbo.

Arnie Pye & Ernie Pyle

Ernest Pyle was an American WWII Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Sadly he was shot down during the battle of Okinawa.

Edna Krabappel & Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe)

Teacher Mrs Edna Krabappel got her name when Simpsons writers Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky used the name of Crabapple as a reference to Teacher Miss Crabtree from the Our Gang Shorts from the 1930s.

Krusty the Clown & Rusty Nails

The creators of the Simpsons grew up with a TV clown named Rusty Nails (who sounds and looks like he should be in a horror movie!)

Otto Mann & Slash

Otto is based on a mash-up of legendary British guitarist Slash and Simpsons writer Wallace Wolodarsky.

Nelson Muntz & John Bender (Judd Nelson)

The Simpsons writers love the film The Breakfast Club and not only does Nelson get his name from Judd Nelson who plays John Bender in the film, but he also inspired the name of Bender in Futurama.

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon & Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers)

Hank Azaria based the personality and voice of Apu on Peter Sellers’ character Hrundi from the film The Party.

Written by Jay

A caffeine-based life form with a love of the 80s and pop culture.


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