The real Popeye, Frank “Rocky” Fiegel was born into a Jewish family, in 1868 in Poland.  The family emigrated to the U.S. when he was a child where he later became a sailor after settling in Illinois.

His 20-year maritime career earned him a reputation as a skilled fighter with a deformed eye and a pipe-always-in-mouth habit.
As a bouncer at Wiebusch’s Tavern in Chester, Illinois, he entertained patrons with tales of his sea adventures.
Elzie Crisler Segar, creator of Popeye, met Rocky in Chester, inspiring him to model the iconic character after the retired sailor. Segar also loosely based other characters, like ‘Olive Oyl,’ on real individuals.
Over the years, Segar maintained a connection with Rocky, financially supporting him with a percentage of his earnings from Popeye illustrations. The revelation of Popeye’s real-life inspiration adds a new dimension to the beloved cartoons.
E.C. Segar, Popeye’s creator, was also Jewish.  Segar was born on December 8, 1894, and raised in Chester, Illinois, a small town near the Mississippi River. The son of Jewish parents Erma Irene (Crisler) and Amzi Andrews Segar, a handyman
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