There is no shortage of memorable, real-life characters from Maine, which may be exactly why there are so many unforgettable fictional characters from movies, books and TV shows who also hail from our fair state.
Be they regular people, supernatural beings or talking animals, there are writers and creators from both here and elsewhere who have come up with some seriously fascinating characters. Here are some of our favorites.
Jessica Fletcher from ‘Murder, She Wrote’
Bestselling writer of mystery stories by day. Hard-boiled detective and solver of crimes by night (and day, actually). Jessica Fletcher, as portrayed by Angela Lansbury in “Murder, She Wrote,” solved countless crimes in fictional Cabot Cove, Maine, a town that somehow is completely overwhelmed by murders. Though not technically a Mainer by birth, the smart, persistent, good-humored Fletcher can happily join our tribe.
Hawkeye Pierce from ‘M.A.S.H.’
The irreverent Army surgeon Hawkeye Pierce, a native of Crabapple Cove, Maine, and the rascal of all rascals from the beloved comedy-drama “M.A.S.H.”, is famously portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the movie, and Alan Alda in the TV series. Though his pranks made him a fan favorite, it was his moral center that made him legendary. In the books, Hawkeye returns to Maine after he retires from the military.
Carrie White from ‘Carrie’
In Stephen King’s 1974 debut novel and the acclaimed Brian de Palma film adaption in 1976, the titular Carrie White is a bullied teenage girl who wreaks bloody havoc on her hometown of Chamberlain, Maine, via her nascent telekinetic powers. While there are countless Mainers with special abilities in King’s universe, Carrie is the original and still the best.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding from ‘The Shawshank Redemption’
In the opposite Stephen King corner from Carrie White is Red, another iconic King character at the center of “The Shawshank Redemption,” one of the most beloved movies of all time, based on King’s novella. While both Red and his friend, Andy Dufresne, deserve to be on this list, it’s Red, who undergoes a transformation thanks to the power of hope and friendship, that provides the spiritual and moral core of the story.
Barnabas Collins from ‘Dark Shadows’
While the Collins family from the 1960s TV soap “Dark Shadows” has lived in the fictional Hancock County town of Collinsport since the 17th century, Barnabas Collins has lived in Maine the longest of anyone on this list, given the fact that in 1795 he was transformed into a vampire. Played originally by actor Jonathan Frid and again by Johnny Depp in the 2012 Tim Burton film, the seductive, manipulative vampire has been cast as both a villain and a protagonist.
Sal from ‘Blueberries for Sal’
More than 70 years after it was published, Robert McCloskey’s simple, beautiful tale of a little girl and her mom picking blueberries in Maine — and the little bear cub and its mother that follow them — remains a classic. Let’s be glad there are still little Maine girls with messy hair and overalls, and little Maine bears and their mamas, eating all the blueberries.
Charlotte A. Cavatica from ‘Charlotte’s Web’
E.B. White is one of our most famous real Mainers, and he’s responsible for creating countless beloved characters, though the wise, kind barn spider, Charlotte at the center of “Charlotte’s Web” is perhaps his most indelible. If you haven’t reread the book as an adult, do yourself a favor and do it — it’s a deceptively deep story.
Olive Kitteridge from ‘Olive Kitteridge’
The central character of Elizabeth Strout’s beautiful, tender, Pulitzer Prize-winning book set in the town of Crosby, Maine, Olive Kitteridge is a tough, cantankerous, quietly sensitive retired schoolteacher. Strout brought her antiheroine back for a second book, “Olive, Again,” in 2019. Olive was played brilliantly by Frances McDormand in the 2014 HBO miniseries of the same name.
Miss Rumphius from ‘Miss Rumphius’
The lupine lady, who scattered seeds of that beloved wildflower all over Maine, is based on a real person (Hilda Hamlin), but was brought to colorful, fictional life by children’s writer and illustrator Barbara Cooney. The Maine Library Association’s literary prize, the Lupine Award, is given annually to a picture book and a young adult writer or illustrator from Maine, and is named in honor of Miss Rumphius.
You certainly can’t leave Paul Bunyan, one of the most famous tall tales in American history, off this list. While there’s no one definitive book or movie about the super-tall, super-strong lumberjack and his sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox, there’s lots of lore out there detailing his exploits. And as all Mainers know, ol’ Paul is most certainly a Mainer — not, as some Midwesterners would have you believe, from Minnesota.
Aquaman from DC Comics
According to a number of various character backstories from the comics, as well as from the 2018 movie, DC Comics superhero Aquaman is the half-human son of Atlantean queen Atlanna, and Maine lighthouse keeper Tom Curry. That means Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas, is a Maine boy. We’ll take it.