The Greatest Imaginary Friends on Film and TV


Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid? If so, was it another child? An adult? An animal? A bizarre creature? A ghost? Before we get too far — if you haven’t seen The Sixth Sense, A Beautiful Mind, or Fight Club, stop reading now, go watch those films, and come back (or don’t get mad about having them spoiled). Cool? Cool. After the jump, we’ve gathered some noteworthy “imaginary” friends from live-action TV and film. Check ’em out, and hit the comments to tell us about your own childhood and/or adulthood imaginary buddies.

Frank, Donnie Darko

The imaginary version of Frank may have told Donnie to do some sketchy things, but he’s also the one responsible for unearthing Jim Cunningham’s “kiddie porn dungeon,” right? So, he’s pretty useful?

Harry Morgan, Dexter

This imaginary friend is essentially Dexter’s subconscious, so whenever he comes around, we know we’re about to hear Dexter’s deepest thoughts.

François, Youth in Revolt

This imaginary friend is just an alternate, hunky French version of Michael Cera’s character, Nick Twisp, in Youth and Revolt. He got Nick laid, and is thus a fantastic imaginary friend.

Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Although Edward Norton’s character doesn’t consider him as such, Tyler Durden is quite the special imaginary friend — a charismatic, violent type who’s always having great ideas like Project Mayhem and Fight Club. Now, let’s all listen to “Where Is My Mind?” and be glad we don’t have this guy ordering us around.

Malcolm, The Sixth Sense

Bruce Willis’ character in The Sixth Sense might be a ghost, but Cole’s the only one who can see him, so we’ll allow him on this list. Malcolm was remarkably helpful — if we could see dead people, we’d let him pal around with us, too.

Imaginary Mr. Feeny, Boy Meets World

When Eric went to college, he was so worried about life without his high-school principal Mr. Feeny that he made up an imaginary Feeny-like mentor. Best imaginary friend ever?

Charles, A Beautiful Mind

We’re not sure if Paul Bettany’s character in A Beautiful Mind can technically be considered imaginary — his existence in the mind of schizophrenic protagonist John Nash is a bit more pathological than that — but we’re throwing him in here anyway. Charles was a pretty great imaginary friend, even though his baby-bathing skills leave a lot to be desired.

Mr. Snuffleupagus, Sesame Street

Did you know that until 1986, Snuffleupagus was considered to be Big Bird’s imaginary friend? And none of the adults on the street believed in his existence? The Sesame Street folks eventually made him “real,” just so children wouldn’t expect adults not to believe them about important matters.

Natalie Vincent, Perception

Like A Beautiful Mind, TNT’s new series Perception deals with a brilliant paranoid schizophrenic, which means that Kelly Rowan’s character is more hallucination than imaginary best friend. That said, we find the idea of Kiki Cohen from The OC paling around with Will Truman from Will and Grace irresistible!

Harvey, Harvey

And finally, we’ll end our list like it began — with a rabbit. Jimmy Stewart starred in the 1950 film adaptation of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about Harvey, a six-foot-tall invisible rabbit; a revival of the show starring Jim Parsons recently wrapped a well-received run on Broadway.