Iranian exile, who lived in Paris airport for 18 years & inspired 'The Terminal', dies of heart attack
The Iranian man who inspired ace filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s movie ‘The Terminal’, Mehran Karimi Nasseri, breathed his last on Saturday at Terminal 2F of Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport. The cause of death has been reported as a heart attack by Associated Press, which also shared that the police and medical professionals were ultimately unable to save Nasseri and that he had returned to the airport in recent weeks to live there again.
Who was referred to as 'Sir Alfred' by the airport staff, was at the airport since 1988 after the United Kingdom denied him political asylum as a refugee despite the fact that he had a Scottish mother. Post which, he deliberately chose to reside at the Paris airport after declaring himself stateless.
Reportedly, he always kept his luggage by his side at the airport and spent time reading, writing diary entries and studying economics. He left the airport when he was hospitalised in 2006, which was 18 years after he first settled at the terminal.
Taking inspiration from his unconventional situation, Steven Spielberg decided to make a film on him, which ultimately released in 2004 and was titled 'The Terminal'. The movie starred Tom Hanks as an Eastern European man who resides in New York’s John F. Kennedy airport after being denied entry to the United States.
According to a report published by NY Times in 2003, Spielberg purchased the rights to Nasseri’s life story for roughly $250,000.
Apart from 'The Terminal', Nasseri's story also inspired the 1993 French film 'Tombes du ciel', which starred Jean Rochefort. The film released internationally with the title 'Lost in Transit'.
The Iranian exile is believed to have been born in 1945 in the city of Masjed Soleiman.