50 Famous People Who Never Existed

Famous people who never existed

Video Famous people who never existed

We’d all love to be as successful as kitchen icon Betty Crocker, as prolific as Nancy Draw author Carolyn Keine, or as legendary as the great King Arthur. But even if our efforts at stardom fall short, we have at least one big advantage over these famous people: we’re real.

That’s right: some of your favorite spokespersons, brand mascots, songwriters and authors are nothing more than the invention of some very creative people. Curious to know which icons are purely fictional? read on, because we’ve compiled 50 of them. And for more fascinating truths about the world, check out these 30 Amazing Facts That Will Astound You Like A Kid.

Betty Crocker cake mix


As it turns out, the First Lady of Food wasn’t real at all. Since Betty Crocker’s inception almost a century ago, multiple models tricked us all into thinking that the female goddess of the kitchen was a real person—though, admittedly, she aged a little too well. And for more behind-the-scenes celebrity info, check out these 20 Celebrity Friendships You Never Knew Existed.

Aunt Jemima Famous People Who Never Existed


Shockingly, Aunt Jemima never existed. In fact, similar to Betty Crocker, this character—created by R.T. Davis and then later passed on to Quaker Oats—was merely a series of actresses paid to portray the queen of pancakes.

Ali Larter


Supermodel and actress Allegra Coleman graced the cover of Esquire in 1996, and in an accompanying article, writer Martha Sherrill made claims that Coleman would be “Hollywood’s next dream girl.” After the issue hit newsstands, agents scrambled to get their hands on Coleman—only to find out that the article had been one giant hoax created by Sherrill. However, coverage ended up being great for actress Ali Larter, who portrayed Coleman, and eventually landed a lead role on Heroes a few years after the fakeout. And for more astonishing celebrity behavior, check out these 50 Crazy Celebrity Facts You Won’t Believe Are True.

William tell statue


Swiss folk legend William Tell was too good to be true from the start. C’mon. The guy could really shoot an arrow into an apple on top of a child’s head—from several feet away? Nah.

Donald Kaufman Famous People Who Never Existed

donald kaufman, the fictional brother of real-life screenwriter charlie kaufman, played by nicolas cage on screen in an adaptation, he didn’t make it to press trips with his famous brother. however, his shyness was quite understandable: it was nothing more than a work of fiction. And for more shocking facts about his favorite movies, check out these 30 shocking facts about his favorite movies.

alan smithee famous people who don

no, director alan smithee wasn’t actually an incredibly horrible director; this was simply the pseudonym of several directors too embarrassed to put their own names on the credits. This famous pseudonym has appeared in hundreds of movies over the past fifty years, but most notably in Twilight Zone: The Movie, Hellraiser: Bloodline, and Mighty Ducks The Movie: The First Face-Off.

Nancy Drew Book Series Famous People Who Never Existed

sorry, nancy attracted fans: it was actually edward stratemeyer who created the famous detective series. When Stratemeyer didn’t have enough time to write all the stories he had in mind, he hired a group of ghost writers to put together the prolific series and collectively named them Carolynkeine.

Franklin W. Dixon Hardy Boys Famous People Who Never Existed

Stratemeyer also had a lot to do with this pseudonym, under which several writers wrote the hit hardy boys series, which has spanned almost 9 decades.

Mavis Beacon Famous People Who Never Existed

If you grew up in the 1980s, there’s a good chance mavis beacon taught you how to improve your writing skills. But it turns out that there is no real mavis beacon: all these years we have learned typing skills from a cold and emotionless robot.

Tokyo Rose Famous People Who Never Existed

tokyo rose was the name created by Allied troops during World War II for the English-speaking female group of radio announcers who spread Japanese propaganda. Since these stations were primarily aimed at demoralizing the troops, they soon gained a rather unfavorable reputation. And although one of the group’s key figures, iva toguri, was arrested for this hate speech, the famous tokyo rose never actually existed.

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aimi eguchi famous people who donae0fcc31ae342fd3a1346ebb1f342fcb

when fans of the Japanese pop group akb48 discovered that their latest member, aimi eguchi, was actually a computer simulated creation combining the “best” features of each of the other 6 members, were understandably surprised. however, when the video debuting her introduction to the group was released, it is quite obvious from her lack of facial expressions that the robot girl did not have the charisma of her human counterparts.

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Otto Titzler Famous People Who Never Existed

While it would be an incredible coincidence if the founder of the bra was aptly named otto titzling, it’s actually false (although the game’s creators, the trivia quest, seemed to fall for it).

Pierre Brassau Famous People Who Never Existed

pierre brassau was the brainchild of journalist Åke “dacke” axelsson, who, in 1964, attempted to show that critics could not tell the difference between modern avant-garde art and the work of a chimpanzee , a point he proved by enlisting the help of a chimpanzee and some watercolors. As it turned out, critics hailed Pierre Brassau as the next big thing, and were quickly disappointed to realize he was just an ape.

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Pope Joan Famous People Who Never Existed

While it’s nice to imagine that a pope once existed in a male-dominated church, the Pope Juana myth has been debunked by modern scholars.

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Lonelygirl15 Famous People Who Never Existed

lonelygirl15, a popular YouTube channel, reportedly documented the life of 15-year-old Bree. Just a few months later it was revealed that the daily life of a high school girl was being portrayed by 19-year-old actress Jessica Rose, which obviously didn’t go over well with fans.

Georgia Tech


George P. Burdell was a fictional student enrolled at Georgia Tech in 1927, created by William Edgar “Ed” Smith. Since enrollment, he has supposedly received all undergraduate degrees offered by Georgia Tech, served in the military, gotten married—among other accomplishments. At one point, Burdell even led the online poll for Time‘s 2001 Person of the Year award.

Buffalo Sabres


The pride of Tokyo that never actually existed, Taro Tsujimoto, was a fictional draft pick for the Buffalo Sabres in 1974 after then-general manager Punch Imlach became fed up with the incredibly tedious drafting process. Since the NHL was actually looking to expand its talent base outside of Canada and the United States at the time, few had reason to doubt Tsujimoto’s pick. In fact, the story was reported by multiple top news sites, until, of course, they found out it was just a hoax formed out of spite.

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Nat Tate Famous People Who Never Existed

In 1998, Scottish writer william boyd wrote a biography about a troubled artist, nat tate, who threw away 99 percent of his work and jumped into the death from a state island ferry. on april fools day, david bowie hosted a launch party for the novel, where some of the biggest names in the art world finally fell for this gigantic hoax. april fools day!

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President Donald Trump John Barron Famous People Who Never Existed

When reporters called out the trump organization during the 1980s, they often addressed donald trump‘s official spokesman, john barron, who was also quoted in various print stories about the trump family over the years. John Barron’s true identity was revealed when Donald Trump appeared in court and, under oath, admitted that he had been his own official spokesman for years without anyone noticing.

Robin Hood Famous People Who Never Existed


The centuries-old tale of a caped figure stealing from the rich to give to the poor is, in fact, way too good to be true. His (or her) existence is almost impossible for scholars to prove, as so many different conflicting stories about his provenance and accomplishments only point out the less-than-likely existence of this larger-than-life bandit.

Paul Bunyan Famous People Who Never Existed


Our favorite giant lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, isn’t real, but merely a combination of different, very real men: French-Canadian lumberjacks Bon Jean and Fabian Fournier. Sadly, Babe the blue ox is also little more than a fictional character, too.

People Working on Laptop Kaycee Nicole Famous People Who Never Existed

While kaycee nicole swenson may not be well known today, she was certainly one of the first internet famous people in the early 2000s.

For two years, kaycee was open about her fight against leukemia on her blog, eventually captivating thousands of daily readers. When it was reported that she died in the summer of 2001, fans of hers began digging into her life and quickly discovered that it was all just a flimsy story put together by bored housewife Debbie Swenson, who had created her own website. portraying herself. as kaycee’s grieving mother.

The Marlboro Man


This vintage cowboy and heavy smoker was just a very crafty myth intended to get people to smoke more Marlboro cigarettes—and it may have actually worked. According to the LA Times, four actors who portrayed the Marlboro Man have died of smoking-related diseases in the years since the ads first aired in the 1950s.

Mingering Mike Famous People Who Never Existed

mingering mike was an incredibly prolific and completely fictional funk and soul musician in the late 1960s. it turns out that mingering mike was actually mike smith, a teenager living in washington, d.c., that he had created a series of album covers, but no actual albums, for his fictional musical persona.

King Arthur Famous People Who Never Existed


Though King Arthur of Camelot was most likely not real at all, his bravery and strength of character have inspired countless leaders from King Henry VIII to Queen Victoria.

Jim Crow laws on wiki


The man behind one of America’s most intolerant set of discriminatory laws was, in fact, a theater persona created by a white man, Thomas D. Rice, who used blackface to portray a bumbling trickster named Jim Crow.

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John Doe Famous People Who Never Existed


John Doe, or Jane Doe for women, is the identification used for unknown or unidentified people in dealings with the law. In England, this naming practice is said to have been used since the late 1300s, although no actual living man or woman inspired the choice of name.

Man in Suit Writing David Manning Famous People Who Never Existed

david manning the reviewer was suspect from the start, mainly due to his incredibly positive reviews of total flops like the tale of a knight and the beast. As many began to suspect, Manning was the brainchild of Sony’s chief marketing officer, Matthew Cramer, who ended up getting into trouble with disgruntled moviegoers who wasted money watching these films, thanks to their positive reviews.

John Henry Famous People Who Never Existed

John Henry, the great story of strength and bravery of the man who drives steel, is an American folk legend. And like other American folk heroes like Paul Bunyan, John Henry was most likely fictional, little more than an amalgamation of various African-American railroad workers.

famous people who never existed

sally ann thunder ann whirlwind is more than just an obnoxiously long name: she’s also a feminist folk hero and the supposed wife of davy crockett. however, as we’re finding out with most American folk legends, she too is wholly fictional.

image via instagram

pecos bill famous people who don

American folk legend and cowboy pecos bill may be the hero we need, but sadly he never existed. however, fans of the legendary cowboy have likely long suspected that he is fictional; after all, he does ride a tornado.

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Alfred Bulltop Stormalong Famous People Who Never Existed

world, meet alfred bulltop stormalong: the kraken’s longtime foe and massachusetts area hero, towering 19 feet above the rest. Of course, you guessed it: it’s definitely not real.

image via instagram

Spinal Tap Band Famous People Who Never Existed

Often stylized as spın̈al tap, this parody of the heavy metal rock band, created by songwriter/performer loudon wainwright iii and writer/director rob reiner did a great job imitating (or ruthlessly mocking) rock bands in the late ’70s that people thought were, in fact, a real rock band. but alas, they’re just a bunch of guys making fun of the music we all love.

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James S.A. Corey Famous People Who Never Existed

james s.a. Corey is best known to fans as the writer behind numerous science fiction masterpieces, including Leviathan Wakes, the first novel in the Expanse series, and the Star Wars novel Honor Between Thieves. it turns out that james s.a. corey is actually the pseudonym of two writers, daniel abraham and ty franck.

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Titanic improvised movie lines

Although many people were convinced that the dashing leading man in james cameron‘s Oscar-winning titanic was based on a real man, it is little more than a work of fiction. Let’s face it: Even if Jack Dawson had been a real person who boarded the Titanic, he could never live up to Leo’s perfectly romantic portrayal in the movie. never.

Hua Mulan Famous People Who Never Existed

Mulan, or Hua Mulan as she is known in China (and outside of the Disney franchise), is a Chinese warrior princess who disguised herself as a man to fight in combat. More recently, the story of Mulan has been considered a legend and not a true story, as little or no evidence has been found of the existence of a Hua Mulan during the period of the Northern and Southern dynasties.

Sybil Ludington Famous People Who Never Existed

According to legend, 16-year-old sybil ludington rode out to warn American militia that the British were coming during the Revolutionary War. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s probably due to the fact that its existence was debunked by the daughters of the American Revolution long ago.

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Sherlock Holmes Famous People Who Never Existed


We’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but Sherlock Holmes, the British detective mastermind created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is merely fictional. However, Doyle has said that aspects of Holmes’ character are derived from those of Joseph Bell, a British surgeon and lecturer.

The Legend of Zorro Famous People Who Never Existed

When you think of zorro, you probably imagine antonio banderas wielding a sword and running from the law. Well, you’re right: he’s a very fictional character created by Johnston McCulley in 1919. Although it’s worth noting that McCulley was inspired by a 19th-century bandit named Joaquin Murrieta.

Ichabod Crane Famous People Who Never Existed


As far as we know, Ichabod Crane, the protagonist of Washington Irving’s short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” is purely fictional. Well, at least we really hope that he is.

Ann Taylor


The name Ann Taylor conveys exactly what the iconic women’s clothing brand aims to represent: preppy, classic style. However, the store’s namesake was never a real person to begin with. The brand’s founder, Richard Liebeskind, chose the name because it evoked both a New England sensibility and the idea of tailored clothing.

tony clifton andy kaufman

tony clifton, a disgruntled las vegas lounge singer with a penchant for insulting his audience who rose to fame in the 1980s, was about as far from the typical cheery entertainer as you can get. To be. More interestingly, he was fake too.

First played by actor andy kaufman, who initially claimed that clifton was, in fact, a real person, the character has lived on in the decades since kaufman’s death in 1984. In recent years, Clifton, often played by Kaufman’s close friend Bob Zmuda, among others, has reappeared on the comedy scene, leading many conspiracy theorists to believe that Kaufman is still alive. .

Uncle Ben


Uncle Ben, the supposed namesake of the Uncle Ben’s line of food products, likely never existed at all. While Mars, Incorporated, the parent company of Uncle Ben’s, claims that the name comes from an African-American rice grower known for his superior product, the image used on the brand’s packaging is actually that of Frank Brown, a Chicago restaurant maître d’ known to Gordon L. Harwell, the former president of Uncle Ben’s.

rosie the riveter stamp


Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon, but, sadly, she never existed in real life.

the woman in the famous “we can do it” image created by j. howard miller was not a portrait of a real person, but is often said to have been inspired by gun factory worker veronica foster, also known as “ronnie the bren gun girl” , an image of which became frequently used on Canadian propaganda posters during World War II.

Alfred E. Neuman statue


Mad Magazine’s mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, isn’t exactly a pedigreed journalist. In fact, the magazine’s gap-toothed ginger cartoon cover boy is seemingly a riff on earlier cartoons, the earliest known iteration of which dates back to the late 1800s.

manti t

new orleans saints linebacker manti te’o made headlines in 2012 when it was revealed that his girlfriend, lennay kekua, had died of leukemia. the only problem? she never existed at all.

te’o had been tricked into thinking he was in a long-distance relationship with a woman he had never actually met thanks to an acquaintance, ronaiah tuiasosopo, who used photos of his former high school classmate, diane o’meara, to hook te’o.

piotr zak

the ghastly polish composer piotr zak, whose jarring composition was broadcast on the bbc’s third program in 1961, never existed. his piece, “mobile for tape and percussion”, was actually the work of susan bradshaw and hans keller, two bbc producers who created the character and his terrible music for fun.

lorna doone cookies

While the origin of the cookie’s name is not entirely clear, it is likely a reference to the 1969 novel Lorna Doone: An Exmoore Romance, written by R. d. more black.

Savannah Knoop at J.T Leroy premiere


In the late 1990s, literary wunderkind JT LeRoy was the hottest new author on the planet, thanks to his semi-autobiographical books The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things and Sarah.

It turned out that the allegedly HIV-positive teenage author, who claimed to be a former escort and drug addict, was actually the brainchild of author Laura Albert, who recruited her sister-in-law, Savannah Knoop, to pose as Leroy during public appearances.

Juan Valdez coffee


Think famed coffee icon Juan Valdez had a hand in growing the beans in your favorite brew? Think again.

in truth, valdez was a character created by the doyle dane bernbach advertising agency as a means of promoting the national federation of coffee growers of colombia. The character has been played by three people since 1958: José F. Duval, Carlos Sanchez, and Carlos Castañeda. (For what it’s worth, the last two men actually worked as coffee farmers.) And for more of history’s biggest mind-blowers, check out these 30 Crazy Facts That Will Change Your View Of History.

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