Aristotle Sokratis Onassis was born 20 January 1906 in Karatas, Izmir, Turkey to Socrates Onassis and Penelope Dologou and died 15 March 1975 American Hospital of Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France of unspecified causes. He married Athina Mary Niarchos (1929-1974) 28 December 1946 . He married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929-1994) 20 October 1968 in Skorpios, Greece.

Aristotle Socrates Onassis ( /ˈnæsɪs,_ʔˈnɑːʔ/;[1] Greek: Αριστοτέλης Ωνάσης, Aristotelis Onasis; 20 January 1906 – 15 March 1975),[2] commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a Greek[3][4] shipping magnate who amassed the world's largest privately owned shipping fleet and was one of the world's richest and most famous men.[5] He was married to Athina Mary Livanos (daughter of shipping tycoon Stavros G. Livanos), had a long-standing affair with famous opera singer Maria Callas and was married to Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of American President John F. Kennedy.[6]

Onassis was born in Smyrna (modern-day İzmir in Turkey) and fled the city with his family to Greece in 1922 in the wake of the catastrophe of Smyrna. He moved to Argentina in 1923 and established himself as a tobacco trader and later a shipping owner during the Second World War. Moving to Monaco, Onassis fought Prince Rainier III for economic control of the country through his ownership of SBM and its Monte Carlo Casino. In the mid-1950s, he sought to secure an oil shipping arrangement with Saudi Arabia and engaged in whaling expeditions. In the 1960s, Onassis attempted to establish a large investment contract—Project Omega—with the Greek military junta, and he sold Olympic Airways, which he had founded in 1957. Onassis was greatly affected by the death of his 24-year-old son, Alexander, in a plane crash in 1973, and he died two years later.

Early life


Aristotle Socrates Onassis was born in 1906 in Karataş, a suburb of the port city of Smyrna (now İzmir, Turkey) in Anatolia to Socrates Onassis and Penelope Dologou. Onassis had one sister, Artemis, and two half-sisters, Kalliroi and Merope, by his father's second marriage following Penelope's death. Onassis became a successful shipping entrepreneur and was able to send his children to prestigious schools. When Onassis graduated from the local Evangelical Greek School at the age of 16, he spoke four languages: Greek (his native language), Turkish, Spanish, and English.[7][8]

Onassis, 1932

Smyrna was briefly administered by Greece (1919–1922) in the aftermath of the Allied victory in World War I, but then Smyrna was re-taken by Turkey during the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22). The Onassis family's substantial property holdings were lost, causing them to become refugees fleeing to Greece after the Great fire of Smyrna in 1922.[9] During this period, Onassis lost three uncles, an aunt, and her husband Chrysostomos Konialidis and their daughter, who were burned to death in a church in Thyatira where 500 Christians were seeking shelter from the Great Fire of Smyrna.

Death and legacy

Onassis financed the construction of the Olympic Tower in New York City.

Onassis died at age 69 on 15 March 1975 at the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, of respiratory failure, a complication of the myasthenia gravis from which he had been suffering during the last years of his life. Onassis was buried on his island of Skorpios in Greece, alongside his son, Alexander. Onassis' will established a charitable foundation in memory of his son, the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, which received 45% of Onassis' estate. The remainder of his estate was left to his daughter, Christina.

Relationships and family

Athina Livanos

Onassis married Athina Mary "Tina" Livanos, daughter of shipping magnate Stavros G. Livanos and Arietta Zafrikakis, on 28 December 1946. Livanos was 17 at the time of their marriage; Onassis was 40. Onassis and Livanos had two children, both born in New York City: a son, Alexander (1948–1973), and a daughter Christina (1950–1988). Onassis named his legendary super-yacht after his daughter. To Onassis his marriage to Athina was more than the fulfillment of his ambitions. He also felt that the marriage dealt a blow to his father-in-law and the old-money Greek traditionalists who held Onassis in very low esteem.[10] The couple had become largely separated by the mid-1950s, with the end of the marriage coming after Livanos found Onassis in bed with a friend of hers at their home in Cap d'Antibes, the Château de la Croë. The house was then acquired by Onassis' brother-in-law and business rival Stavros Niarchos, who bought it for his wife, Eugenia Livanos, Athina's sister.[11] Onassis and Livanos divorced in June 1960 during Onassis' well publicised affair with Maria Callas.[12]

Maria Callas

Onassis and legendary opera soprano Maria Callas carried on an affair despite the fact that they were both married. They met in 1957 during a party in Venice promoted by Elsa Maxwell. After this first encounter, Onassis commented to Spyros Skouras: "There [was] just a natural curiosity; after all, we were the most famous Greeks alive in the world."[13] Callas and Onassis both divorced their spouses but did not marry each other, although their relationship continued for many years.[14]

Jacqueline Bouvier Onassis

Onassis was a friend of Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. They married on 20 October 1968 on Onassis' private Greek island, Skorpios.

Onassis offered Mrs. Kennedy US$3 million to replace her Kennedy trust fund, which she would lose because she was remarrying.[15] After Onassis' death, she would receive US$150,000 each year for the rest of her life. The whole marital contract was discussed with Ted Kennedy.[15] Onassis' daughter Christina made it clear that she disliked Jacqueline Onassis, and after Alexander's death, she convinced her father that Jacqueline had some kind of curse due to the assassinations of John and Robert F. Kennedy.[16] After Onassis's death, Christina settled with Jackie Onassis for $25 million in exchange for Jackie not contesting Onassis's will.[17]

During their marriage, the couple inhabited six residences: her 15-room apartment at 1040 Fifth Avenue in New York City, her horse farm in New Jersey, his Ave. Foch apartment in Paris (88 Avenue Foch), his house in Athens, on Skorpios, his private island in Greece, and his yacht Christina O.


Offspring of Aristotle Sokratis Onassis and Athina Mary Niarchos (1929-1974)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Alexander Onassis (1948-1973)
Christina Onassis (1950-1988)



See also


  1. ^ "Onassis". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ "Aristotle Socrates Onassis". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  3. ^ "Biografia de Onassis Aristóteles Millonario Griego Armador de Barcos" (in es-ES). 
  4. ^ "La Argentina de Onassis." (in es-ES). La Terminal, ida y vuelta a la realidad. 7 December 2008. 
  5. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named headliners
  6. ^ "22 iconic photos of life at sea" (in en). 
  7. ^ Cafarakis, Christian (1972). Ari: O Fabuloso Onassis. Editora Expressão e Cultura. 
  8. ^ Gerald A. Carroll. Project Seek: Onassis, Kennedy, and the Gemstone thesis. Bridger House, 1994, ISBN 978-0-9640104-0-6, p. 50
  9. ^ Hussein, Waris (1988) Onassis, the richest man in the world, TV movie.
  10. ^ Evans 1987, p. 102.
  11. ^ Evans 1987, p. 154.
  12. ^ Evans 1987, p. 190.
  13. ^ Evans 1987, p. 173.
  14. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Diva
  15. ^ a b (30 November 1977) "Jackie Kennedy: One of the world's most expensive women". 
  16. ^ "Video Biography of Aristotles Onassis". 11 August 2008. 
  17. ^ Lion, Ed (1 March 1981). "Book says Onassis planned to divorce Jackie before he died". UPI. 

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