Mehmet Nazım’s obituary bears photo of Gary Cooper

Mehmet Nazım’s obituary bears photo of Gary Cooper

Mehmet Nazım’s obituary bears photo of Gary Cooper

Painter Mehmet Nazım, the son of Turkey’s famous poet Nazım Hikmet, has died at the age of 67 in Paris. But the use of the photo of American actor Gary Cooper in the obituary, given by his friends after the death of poet, was a surprise for readers. 

“Our dear, cousin, friend, painter Mehmet Nâzım [Mehmet le beau] has passed away. Our pain is infinite,” read the obituary, given by Nazım’s friends Aybar, Ali and Rabia Güreli, Gündüz Vassaf, Zeynep Irgat, Fulya Sade, Bike Gürsel and Komet in daily Hürriyet on Oct. 15.

It was first thought the photo of Cooper was printed mistakenly but Aybar made a statement saying it was a known joke among his friends. 

The joke about the Cooper photo lies within the statement “Mehmet le beau” (beautiful, handsome Mehmet) in his obituary.

“We had many friends named Mehmet among artists and intellectuals who lived in Paris for a while, such as Mehmet Güleryüz, Mehmet Ulusel and Mehmet Nâzım. We used various nicknames like Mehmet the Bird, Bad Mehmet and Koyun (the sheep) Mehmet to separate them from each other. Mehmet Nâzım’s nickname was ‘Mehmet le beau,’ which means ‘Beautiful Mehmet, Cool Mehmet.’ A photo of Gary Cooper was used to remember him for all his good looks,” said Nazım’s close friend Komet, who was also a painter from Paris, following the obituary. 

Another characteristic of Nazım was his persistent avoidance of media. He had not given an interview or allowed for his photo to be taken or used throughout his life. By respecting his decision, his friends chose to use the photo of the famous actor Gary Cooper, who Nazım was likened to in his youth.