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6 Beloved Pop Culture Icons With Hateful Histories


You know, it’s true what they say: “never meet your idols”. All of us have that one book, movie, or song that you can read/watch time and time again, stuff that really resonates with us. I don’t know about you, but I rarely think of the author/performer when I’m “in the zone”, because I’m always scared of discovering something nasty about them. And sometimes those fears come true. Here are 5 pop culture icons with hateful histories.



Sherlock Holmes
If someone asked you to name one famous fictional character of the 19th-century, you’d most likely say Sherlock Holmes. He’s that genius detective guy who got himself something like 10 movies, 59 TV shows, and was referenced a few million times in all other media. Thing is, Holmes’ own creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, hated that character with a passion! You see, as a young author, Arthur wrote about all sorts of weird things just to keep the readers coming for more (to that I can relate), so his works touched topics like man-eating plants and mummies, until he caught his big break with Sherlock Holmes. However, Doyle always thought of Holmes as cheap and hacky, for some reason. He even decided to kill Holmes, along with Moriarty, because his own creation was overshadowing the author himself, and people kept crying for more. Eventually he brought the detective back to life, and continued to write those amazing novels, even though he hated himself for doing it.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
We all have great memories of the 1971 film adaptation of the novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, but one man who would not stand for that train wreck of a movie, was actually the author of the novel himself – Roald Dahl. He hated that the movie was watered down, leaving out a lot of the source material’s sinister schemes behind. I mean, he didn’t even like Gene Wilder, not to mention the musical numbers. In his eyes it should’ve been a lot creepier and a lot less kid-friendly. Again, I can relate to the man.

Russian-American writer Vladimir Nabokov, best known for his 1955 novel “Lolita”, is to this day one of the most famous and controversial authors of our time. “Lolita” is a really creepy love story between a middle-aged man and the 12-year-old Lolita. If you’re hearing this for the first time, yeah, it’s okay to be creeped out by that. Either way, the world almost lost this beautiful story forever, when Nabokov, out of the blue, decided the manuscript must be destroyed. Just like that. Was it too graphic? Maybe it needed some work and he thought it would be easier to start it anew? Thanks to Nabokov’s wife Vera, we’ll never know, as she managed to save most of the novel before Nabokov burned it up.

‘Pinball Wizard’
Brown-nosing in the music industry is nothing new. Sometimes you have to do something embarrassing for someone, to move things forward. Pete Townshend, songwriter and lead guitarist for The Who, got himself in a pickle. At one point, the success of his rock opera “Tommy”, depended more and more on a good review from influential music journalist Nic Cohn. To move things along, Pete devised a genius plan. Knowing that Cohn was a huge fan of pinball, Townshend spread the rumors about a pinball-related song, to which Cohn immediately responded with a “masterpiece” sticker (not literally, of course). Of course, the song was a lie, so Townshend had to put together whatever weird lyrics came to mind, and thus the “Pinball Wizard” was born. He actually thought the song would flop, but to his surprise it became one of their biggest hits.

The NeverEnding Story
In 1984, the film “The Never Ending Story” rocked the world with its imagery, atmosphere, and the overall fantasy feel. Interestingly enough, it was based on a novel, but not many people know this fact. And here’s why: the author completely lost his mind, and even disowned the project. When Michael Ende saw what the filmmakers had done to the source material, he just couldn’t let it go. He was furious that the film company focus on the money-making side over story, but it was too late, as he had sold the rights already. He even went as far as to remove his name from the credits, can you imagine that? So, either way, he sued the movie company, got his butt handed to him in court and never trusted the film studios ever again. Can you blame him?

Mary Poppins
The same happened to P.L. Travers, the author of a series of children’s books about Mary Poppins. Sadly, but she wasn’t agree with all the Disney decisions, from the script to the music. Especially she didn’t like how Mary Poppins was portrayed in the movie, to be precise the famous nanny was much more curt in the books. They say Disney even didn’t want to invite Travers to the film premiere. The author herself said it might have been better if she did not attend the premier because she saw only disappointment and regret.