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Iranian Who Lived At Paris Airport And Inspired Tom Hanks’ ‘The Terminal’ Dies At Home Airport

The man who inspired Tom Hanks’ blockbuster film “The Terminal” died after suffering a heart attack at the Paris airport he called home for 18 years, officials revealed.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri lived at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 to 2006 – first in legal uncertainty and later by choice.

He had recently returned to the airport and had taken up residence in Terminal 2F after several years in a Paris shelter.

Police and a medical team were called to the terminal on Saturday over reports that Mr Nasseri had suffered a heart attack. He could not be rescued, an airport authority said.

Karimi Nasseri, believed to have been born in 1945, had no residence papers when he first arrived in France, meaning he was stranded at the airport.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri Lived At Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport From 1988 To 2006 - First In Legal Uncertainty And Later By Choice

Mehran Karimi Nasseri lived at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 to 2006 – first in legal uncertainty and later by choice

Mr. Nasseri'S Story Loosely Inspired Steven Spielberg'S 2004'S The Terminal Starring Hanks, As Well As The French Film Lost In Transit And An Opera Called Flight.

Mr. Nasseri’s story loosely inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2004’s The Terminal starring Hanks, as well as the French film Lost in Transit and an opera called Flight.

Year after year he slept on a red plastic couch, made friends with airport staff, showered in staff facilities, wrote in his diary, read magazines and watched passing travelers.

The staff nicknamed him Lord Alfred and he became a mini-celebrity among the passengers.

His saga inspired The Terminal starring Tom Hanks and a French film.

“Eventually I’ll leave the airport,” he told The Associated Press in 1999, smoking a pipe on his couch, looking feeble with long thin hair, sunken eyes and hollow cheeks.

“But I’m still waiting for a passport or transit visa.”

Mr. Nasseri was born in Soleiman, a part of Iran then under British jurisdiction, to an Iranian father and British mother. He left Iran to study in England in 1974. When he returned, he claimed he had been jailed for protesting the Shah and expelled from the country without a passport.

He Had Recently Returned To The Airport And Took In The Residents In Terminal 2F After Several Years In A Paris Shelter

He had recently returned to the airport and took in the residents in Terminal 2F after several years in a Paris shelter

The French Police Later Arrested Him But Were Unable To Deport Him Anywhere Because He Had No Official Documents. He Came To Charles De Gaulle In August 1988 And Stayed

The French police later arrested him but were unable to deport him anywhere because he had no official documents. He came to Charles de Gaulle in August 1988 and stayed

Subsequent investigations suggested that he was, in fact, never banned from Iran.

He applied for political asylum in several countries in Europe. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Belgium gave him refugee credentials, but he said his briefcase containing the refugee certificate had been stolen at a train station in Paris.

The French police later arrested him but were unable to deport him anywhere because he had no official documents. He joined Charles de Gaulle in August 1988 and stayed there.

Further bureaucratic tampering and increasingly strict European immigration laws kept him in a legal no-man’s-land for years.

When he finally received refugee papers, he described his surprise and uncertainty about leaving the airport.

He reportedly refused to sign them and remained there for several more years until he was hospitalized in 2006 and later lived in a Paris shelter.

When He Finally Received Refugee Papers, He Described His Surprise And Uncertainty About Leaving The Airport

When he finally received refugee papers, he described his surprise and uncertainty about leaving the airport

In The Terminal, Hanks Plays Viktor Navorski, A Man Who Arrives At New York'S Jfk Airport From The Fictional Eastern European Country Of Krakozhia And Discovers That Overnight A Political Revolution Has Invalidated All His Travel Documents.

In The Terminal, Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a man who arrives at New York’s JFK Airport from the fictional Eastern European country of Krakozhia and discovers that overnight a political revolution has invalidated all his travel documents.

Both France and Belgium offered Nasseri residence permits over the years, but he was reportedly angry that they listed him as Iranian rather than British, and wanted them to address him by his preferred name; Sir Alfred Mehran.

Those who befriended him at the airport said the years of living in the windowless space had a negative impact on his mental state.

The airport doctor was concerned about his physical and mental health in the 1990s, describing him as “petrified here.” A ticket agent compared him to an inmate unable to “live outside.”

Nasseri’s story loosely inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2004 The Terminal starring Hanks, as well as the French film Lost in Transit and an opera called Flight.

In The Terminal, Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a man who arrives at JFK airport in New York from the fictional Eastern European country of Krakozhia and discovers that overnight a political revolution has invalidated all his travel documents.

Dumped in the airport’s international lounge, Viktor is told to stay there until his status is settled, which drags on as unrest continues in Krakozhia.

Spielberg’s production company paid Mr Nasseri a reported £210,000 for the rights to his life story.

1668296863 641 Iranian Who Lived At Paris Airport And Inspired Tom Hanks

“Eventually I’ll leave the airport,” he told The Associated Press in 1999, smoking a pipe on his couch, looking feeble with long thin hair, sunken eyes and hollow cheeks. Pictured: 2004

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Jacky

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