A Christmas Carol's central character, Scrooge, has to be the most famous fictional characters in history with everyone from the Muppets to Blackadder reworking their own version of Charles Dickens miser whose visits from spirits force him to change his ways.
Although Dickens was famous for using his own and experiences in his stories, many don't know that when Dickens wrote Scrooge, he based him on a famously miserly politician of his time, John Elwes.
Despite being fabulously wealthy by inheriting a fortune, Elwes hated spending money and would go to bed at sundown to avoid having to pay for candles, he bought no new clothes and was seen so often in filthy rags, would buy cheaper spoiled meat, would walk everywhere rather than hail a cab and would stay in whichever of the properties he rented did not have a tenant at the time.
Elwes lived to the age of 75, but the doctor who attended his deathbed said he would have lived at least another 20 years if he had spent some of his money on taking care of himself.
The name of Scrooge was inspired by an inscription Dickens found on a tombstone of Ebeneezer Scroggie while he was writing the story.