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9 Movie characters you probably did not know existed in real life

As Mark Twain said, "truth is stranger than fiction." And the same thing can happen with the movies. Just as authors and screenwriters use their imagination to make some truly incredible stories, they also occasionally draw inspiration from the real world. Events, places and even characters are influenced by what really happened out there. Believe it or not, many of our beloved characters, or villains, in this case, are rooted in real life.

1. The Little Mermaid

Even if you've never seen the 1989 Disney movie, The Little Mermaid, you've probably seen the evil Ursula somewhere on the Internet as gif or something like that. But what most people do not know is that she was really inspired by drag queen Harris Glenn Milstead, a real person who gained fame in the 70s and 80s. Harris was better known by his stage name, Divine. He acted as an actress on stage and screen. Divine was closely associated with independent filmmaker John Waters, who called Harris, "the most beautiful woman in the world, almost."

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2. Zorro

Featured in numerous books, films and television series, Zorro is a fictional character created in 1919 by Johnston McCulley. Like the ancient Robin Hood, Zorro was a vigilante who helped the commoners against tyrannical officials and all manner of villains. He was always dressed in black, wore a mask over his face and always left the letter "Z" as his trademark. This character is based on a Californian legend. McCulley is believed to have received inspiration for his fictional character, Don Diego de la Vega, from a book entitled The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murrieta, a real person who lived during the California Gold Rush. He turned from an honest miner into an illegal thug.

3. Lucy Whitmore

In 1985, an English woman by the name of Michelle Philpots suffered a motorcycle accident. The same year, she met her future husband, Ian. Five years later, she was involved in another serious accident along with her husband. She was diagnosed with a rare form of anterograde amnesia. In 1994, Michelle had epilepsy as a result of her head injuries. Since then, she has struggled to form new memories. Every morning for the last 22 years, her husband, whom she only remembers as her boyfriend, shows her their wedding album and answers any questions Michelle may have. Leave post-it stickers on the refrigerator and all sorts of tips that can help her. That's what is shown in the famous movie called "50 First Dates".

The next one is pretty interesting, click NEXT page to find out!

4. Viktor Navorski - The Terminal

In the 2004 film, The Terminal, a man is trapped at New York's JFK airport when he is denied entry to the United States. Viktor Navorski, played by Tom Hanks, can not return to his home country, either, as a military coup took place while he was in mid-flight. His country was no longer recognized, so his passport became void too. And so, Navorski was forced to live inside the airport. The movie, as well as the character itself, is based on the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee.

5. Indiana Jones

Many of us grew up with Indiana Jones as a role model. From his first appearance in "In Search of the Lost Ark" in 1981, Indy has become one of the most revered characters in the cinematic industry. George Lucas created the character as a tribute to several action heroes with whom he grew up. An example of this is Charlton Heston, who in 1954 played a character named Harry Steele in a movie called The Secret of the Incas. Steele has a striking resemblance to Indiana Jones, and not just when it comes to choosing clothes. Indiana Jones and Steele can thank their existence to a twentieth-century teacher, Hiram Bingham II. In 1911 he organized the Peruvian Expedition of Yale, with which he rediscovered the city of Machu Picchu, although he mistakenly identified it as "the Lost City of the Incas". The present Lost City of the Inca Empire, before falling to the Spaniards in 1572, was Vilcabamba. Bingham also discovered it on his way to Machu Picchu but did not recognize what it was.

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6. Ignacio/ Nacho - Nacho Libre

A devout priest turned into a fighter? Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez was a Catholic priest in charge of an orphanage in a degraded neighborhood of Veracruz, Mexico. In 1973, he founded the orphanage "La Casa Hogar de los Cachorros de Fray Tormenta", home to 270 children. In need of money to take care of them, he got into wrestling with this nickname, Fray Tormenta. He designed a red and yellow wrestling mask that hid his true identity. Father believed that "no one would have taken me seriously as a fighter if they had known that I was a priest."

7. Johnny Fontane - The Godfather

In real life, the role of Johnny Fontane was "played" by none other than Frank Sinatra. Although never confirmed, it is believed that Sinatra was closely linked to the underworld of the Mafia. And while his career plummeted during the 1950s, many believe that some of these connections helped him to get a role in From Here to Eternity. This movie earned him an Oscar and saved his career. Puzo never confirmed that Fontane was based on Sinatra, but neither did he deny it.

You will thank the NEXT guy for that amazing character!

8. Severus Snape

Believe it or not, the character of Severus Snape played by Alan Rickman, who died only a year ago, was based on a chemistry professor who had JK Rowling as one of his pupils. Professor Nettleship, who died at age 71 after a battle with cancer, discovered his link to Professor Snape when he was portrayed by Alan Rickman in the movie franchise. "The first thing I knew was when someone knocked on the door and said, You're Professor Snape, right? I guess I was very strict as a teacher, but I told my wife, "They think I'm Professor Snape." And my wife said, "Of course you are, but they did not want to tell you."

9. Roy Lee “Rocky” Dennis - The Mask

He was an American boy afflicted with cricopharyngeal dysplasia, a rare and sclerotic bone disorder. The condition usually results in neurological disorders and death during childhood. His body was donated to the UCLA Medical Center after his death. The mask was based on his life. He was able to make some progress shortly before dying at age 16 due to his condition. He had previously rejected an offer to undergo plastic surgery.

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