Mehran Karimi Nasseri: Steven Spielberg’s "terminal man" is dead

Mehran Karimi Nasseri
Steven Spielberg’s “Terminal Man” is dead

Paris Airport was “Sir Alfred’s” home.

© Eric Fougere/VIP Images/Corbis via Getty Images

Mehran Karimi Nasseri has died. The story of the Iranian living in Paris airport inspired Steven Spielberg to create “Terminal”.

For 18 years, the Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri (1945-2022) lived in Charles-de-Gaulle Airport in Paris. He died there of natural causes on Saturday afternoon (November 12). This is reported, among other things, by the newspaper “Le Parisien” citing an airport spokesman.

Nasseri, who called himself “Sir Alfred”, gained international fame through Steven Spielberg’s (75) film “Terminal” (2004). In it, Tom Hanks (66) plays a war refugee who has to settle down at New York’s JFK airport because he doesn’t have a passport. Mehran Karimi Nasseri served as a template for the character Viktor Navorski.

With the money that the Iranian received for the film, he moved into a hotel. In September, however, he returned to the airport. Sitting on a trolleybus with his belongings, he always stayed in the same place. “He didn’t seem to be doing so well in the last few weeks,” recalls an airport employee. “He had an empty gaze, was directed towards the window front and had his mouth open.”

The fate of the “terminal man”

Born in Iran in 1945, Mehran Karimi Nasseri settled in Roissy, north of Paris, in 1988. He had previously lived in London, Berlin and Amsterdam in search of his mother. Since he could not show any papers, the authorities repeatedly deported him. In 1999 he was recognized as a refugee in France and received a residence permit.

Nasseri then decided to make Charles-de-Gaulle Airport his home. His everyday life took place in a triangle of a few square meters between sandwich shops and a McDonald’s. An airport toilet served as his bathroom. After the death, the airport covered its regular place with a white sheet.


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