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Dahmer on Netflix: what do the characters look like in reality?

With the “Dahmer: Monster – The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” series, creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan stay true to the facts down to the smallest detail.

Among the many qualities of Dahmer: Monster – The Story of Jeffrey Dahmer, the attention to detail and reconstruction of facts is one of the most impressive. An immense amount of research has been done on the sets and costumes to remain as faithful as possible to reality.

This is without counting the precision interpretation of the actors and actresses who transpose this tragic affair to the screen. To compose the role of Jeffrey Dahmer, Evan Peters viewed, for many months, archive footage of the serial killer in order to study his way of speaking and walking.

Back to the key protagonists of this story to analyze the physical differences between fiction and reality.

Jeffrey Dahmer

In Dahmer, Evan Peters delivers his most precise, inhabited and terrifying performance. The actor, who is never afraid to blend into the skin of complex characters, excels in the guise of Jeffrey Dahmer. The American star worked a lot on body language and elocution by listening to many authentic recordings.

Lionel Dahmer


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After the fact, Lionel Dahmer, the father of the serial killer, gave many interviews on American television. He never denied his love for his son, even explaining this relationship in a book published in 1994. Thanks to all these archival documents, actor Richard Jenkins was able to brilliantly compose this role of outdated father, torn between morality and the affection he has for his child. Lionel Dahmer is still alive today.

Joyce Dahmer

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As the Netflix series shows, Joyce Dahmer, the mother of Jeffrey Dahmer, remained much more in the background during the media coverage of the case. She nevertheless gave an interview for the show Hard Copy in 1994, the year of her suicide attempt. She died in 2000 from breast cancer. On screen, she is played by Penelope Ann Miller.

Shari Dahmer

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Screenshot/Netflix

Shari Dahmer is not Jeffrey Dahmer’s biological mother. She met Lionel Dahmer when the Milwaukee cannibal was still a teenager. Despite the many events, she always stayed by her husband’s side to support him. She even participated in interviews with him. Shari Dahmer is still alive, her last appearance dates back to 2017 for a documentary series dedicated to Jeffrey Dahmer. It is the actress Molly Ringwald who plays her role.

Glenda Cleveland

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Screenshot/Netflix

The series’ most touching character, neighbor Glenda Cleveland, is played by Niecy Nash. This single mother, witness in spite of herself to the atrocities of Jeffrey Dahmer, remained very discreet at the time of the affair, refusing numerous requests for interviews. After the arrest of the murderer, Glenda Cleveland never left the city of Milwaukee. She died in 2011 at the age of 56.

Shirley Hughes

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Screenshot/Netflix

The mother of Tony Hughes, the deaf victim of Jeffrey Dahmer, appears from episode 6. Her testimony during the trial and the reading of the poem are transcribed in detail in the series. The judge allowed him to claim all the profits that the Dahmer family could receive as a result of this case. In the series, she is played by Karen Malina White.

Rita Isbell

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Screenshot/Netflix

Rita Isbell is the sister ofErrol Lindsey, the eleventh victim of Jeffrey Dahmer. In 1992, she was invited to the trial among the other relatives of the victims to testify. His tantrum made the rounds of the media in the United States. She is played by DaShawn Barnes. Since the release of the series, the real Rita Isbell has come out of silence. She criticizes the Netflix platform for not having contacted her for the needs of the fiction.

Tracy Edwards

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Screenshot/Netflix

Tracy Edwards is the man who escaped Jeffrey Dahmer and alerted the police. In 1992, he was also invited to the trial to recount, in detail, his sordid night with the murderer. Throughout her testimony, Tracy Edwards was unable to look at her attacker. In 2011, the survivor, who became homeless, was incarcerated for murder. On screen, he is played by Shaun J. Brown.

The article is in French

Tags: Dahmer Netflix characters reality

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