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Iranian refugee from Roissy whose story inspired Spielberg is dead


Mehran Karimi Nasseri at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in the 2000s. Screenshot Youtube/Hamid Rahmanian

77-year-old Mehran Karimi Nasseri served as a model for the character played by Tom Hanks in The terminalin 2004.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian political refugee who lived for more than 18 years at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport and inspired director Steven Spielberg for his film The terminal died there on Saturday, AFP learned from an airport source. He died a natural death shortly before noon Saturday at Terminal 2F.

Born in 1945 in Masjed Soleiman, in the Iranian province of Khuzestan, Mehran Karimi Nasseri, known as “SirAlfred” had taken up residence in Roissy, north of Paris, in November 1988, after a long journey – in search of his mother – which had taken him to London, Berlin or Amsterdam.

Each time, Mehran Karimi Nasseri had been expelled by the authorities, for lack of being able to present papers. In 1999, he obtained refugee status in France and a residence permit. After spending the money received for the film, 250,000 dollars, Mehran Karimi Nasseri had returned to the airport for a few weeks, added the same source. Several thousand euros were found on him.

At Roissy, he had become familiar with the airport staff and an emblematic figure, being the subject of numerous television and radio reports, French and foreign, before the cinematographic consecration. In 2004, Tom Hanks performed his role in The terminal directed by Steven Spielberg. After the film, he would have lived in a hostel in Paris.

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