Iranian refugee who inspired Spielberg’s ‘The Terminal’ dies at Paris airport
Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the man who had lived inside Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport in France for years and inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2004 film ‘The Terminal’, died at the same airport , according to reports.
Nasseri was pronounced dead by the airport medical team at Terminal 2F and died of natural causes on Saturday, Nov. 12, an airport spokesperson told CNN.
Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, was en route to England via Belgium and France in 1988 when he lost his papers and was unable to board a flight or leave the airport and was stranded until 2006.
He had “returned to live as a homeless in the public area of the airport since mid-September, after a stay in a rest home”, said the spokesperson.
The spokesperson added that Nasseri was an “iconic figure” at the airport and that “the whole airport community was attached to him, and our staff looked after him as much as possible for many years, even though we would have preferred that he find a real shelter.”
At one point, the French authorities offered to allow him to reside in France, but Nasseri refused the offer, apparently because he wanted to travel to his original destination, England.
Nasseri’s story inside the airport was recounted by Tom Hanks in the film “The Terminal”, but the airport spokesperson noted that: “Spielberg’s film suggests he was stuck in a transit area at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. In reality, he spent several stays there, but always in the public area of the airport, he was always free to move around.