Au Revoir

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee whose saga inspired a famous Hollywood movie, countless articles and no small amount of wonder from travelers and airport staff, died this week at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, his home of 18 years, the Washington Post reported.

“There is a lot of emotion at the airport in the wake of his death,” a spokesperson of the airport authority told the newspaper about the beloved 77-year-old man who died of a heart attack.

Nasseri’s saga began in the 1970s when he was either exiled or fled political unrest in Iran. He initially settled in Belgium for many years but was reportedly set on finding his British mother and tried to travel to other parts of Europe.

However, he was repeatedly expelled from various countries because he was not carrying the required immigration documents.

In 1988, French authorities stopped him at the Paris airport for lacking identity papers. Officials later released him into Terminal 1 of the airport, where he lived for nearly two decades.

He had set up a makeshift home in the airport and became the subject of numerous articles and at least two movies, including the 2004 Steven Spielberg film, “The Terminal.” DreamWorks allegedly gave him hundreds of thousands of dollars for the rights to his story.

Although French authorities granted him a residency permit in 1999, he continued to live at the airport until 2006.

His departure from the airport, however, proved difficult: The airport spokesperson explained that Nasseri had “psychological problems” and was effectively homeless.

Before his death, he returned to the airport’s 2F Terminal in mid-September after leaving a care home where he had been staying.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at hello@dailychatter.com.

Copy link