Sometimes popular TV dramas and comedies draw from reality, even when it comes to politics.
Here are some popular TV characters who were supposedly inspired by real-life politicians.
Judy Smith inspired Olivia Pope on “Scandal.”
The well-known “fixer” Judy Smith is the real-life inspiration for Kerry Washington’s fierce portrayal of Olivia Pope.
Though she herself isn’t a politician, Smith is the crisis manager for many high-profile politicians and celebrities, names like Clarence Thomas and Monica Lewinsky.
Smith has been open about her role in inspiring Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “Scandal.”
“I feel very grateful,” she told The Washington Post. “If I can, for whatever reason, inspire and motivate people, that’s a good thing.”
Matthew Santos in “The West Wing” was partially modelled after then-Senator Barack Obama.
Matthew Santos from Aaron Sorkin’s beloved political drama holds a bit of a resemblance to another young senator.
“The West Wing” character, played by Jimmy Smits, was the youthful, minority-race candidate who based his campaign on bridging the divide across races and between the political parties.
“I drew inspiration from him in drawing this character,” West Wing writer and producer Eli Attie told the Guardian. “When I had to write, Obama was just appearing on the national scene. He had done a great speech at the convention [which nominated John Kerry] and people were beginning to talk about him.”
Santos memorably faced up against a conservative senator with a Maverick personality in the seventh season – which rang familiar bells for fans who saw a likeness to the 2008 presidential debates between Obama and the late John McCain.
Josh Lyman in “The West Wing” takes some inspiration from Rahm Emanuel.
The Sorkin drama’s chief of staff is known to be directly inspired by the then-special advisor to Bill Clinton during his time.
Bradley Whitford, the actor who played Lyman, says he chose to model his character after Emmanuel because he believed viewers would think, “Wow, I can’t believe somebody is actually like that.”
Sam Seaborn from “The West Wing” is believed to be based on George Stephanopoulos.
“The West Wing” had no shortage of real-life inspirations, including Rob Lowe’s character, Sam Seaborn, the deputy communications director for the fictional administration.
Although the creators of “The West Wing” have not confirmed the relation, many believe the character is based on George Stephanopoulos, who was the communications director for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992.
In “The West Wing,” C.J. Clegg took inspiration from Dee Dee Myers.
C.J., the fearless press secretary for “The West Wing”‘s President Bartlett, was based on equally capable Dee Dee Myers.
Meyers was the first female White House press secretary, and she became a valuable resource to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to create a realistic depiction of the action inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
One of the least believable parts of the show, Myers pointed out in 2011, is that instead of just five people making all the decisions, “in real life, there are about five million people.”
The “House of Cards” creator said Hillary Clinton is the closest real-life individual to Claire Underwood.
Lord Dobbs, the creator of “House of Cards” told BuzzFeed that, though they didn’t draw exactly from her life, Hillary Clinton is the closest real-life individual to the character of Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright.
“Hillary [Clinton],” Dobbs told BuzzFeed. “She is a political figure in her own right – behind the scenes, but now increasingly in front of the scenes. That is much more of a Claire character than, for instance, Cherie [Blair], who as far as I’m aware didn’t become actively aware in politics as such.”
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.