12 Cartoon Characters Who Have Real-Life Prototypes

Ariel — actress Alyssa Milano

Early sketches of Ariel were inspired by the wife of animator Glen Keane. However, the final version was based on Alyssa Milano who was 16 when the cartoon aired — just like Ariel herself.

Shrek — wrestler Maurice Tillet

Maurice "The French Angel" Tillet, a French wrestler of Russian origin, is believed to have inspired the animators at Dreamworks to create Shrek. In his childhood, Maurice was a real angel (for which he received his ring name afterward), but he was diagnosed with acromegaly at the age of 19: his bones were growing very fast and large. The condition changed Maurice’s features a lot, but he joked about the problem and even posed at a museum next to statues of the Neanderthals.