Iranian man who inspired ‘The Terminal’ dies inside Paris airport


Nov. 13 (UPI) — The Iranian man who inspired the Stephen Spielberg film “The Terminal” after he lived in the Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for 18 years has died in the same airport.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the inspiration for the 2004 film starring Tom Hanks, started living in the airport in 1988 while he was caught in legal and diplomatic limbo over his alleged status as a refugee after he claimed he was expelled from Iran in 1977 for protesting against the Shah.


Nasseri was able to travel between Britain and France for years but was unable to present a passport to British officials while on a ferry from Brussels in 1988. He was forced to return to France but was unable to prove his identity or refugee status and was detained in the airport.

A French court determined in 1992 that he had entered the country legally so could not be expelled from the airport but also could not give him permission to enter France. In 1995, officials in Belgium offered him the chance to live in the country under the supervision of a social worker but he refused.


Nasseri was later offered residency in both France and Britain but he refused those offers because they listed his nationality as Iranian, rather than British.

He wrote an autobiography about his experience that was published in 2004, the same year The Terminal was released. The film did not use Nasseri’s story but was inspired by his experience.

Nasseri ultimately left the airport in July 2006 but had returned to airport in the weeks before his death, CNN reported.

He died at the airport’s Terminal 2F of natural causes, airport officials told CNN.

Nasseri was allegedly found with several thousand euros in his possession, officials told the BBC.