- Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Socrates Onassis Born 15 January 1906
Smyrna, Ottoman Empire
Died 15 March 1975(aged 69)
Nationality Greek, Argentine Occupation Shipping Spouse Athina Livanos (m. 1946–1960)
Jacqueline Kennedy (m. 1968–1975)
Relatives Socrates Onassis(father)
Artemis Garoufalidi (sister)
Onassis was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna (now İzmir, Turkey) to Socrates and Penelope Onassis (née Dologu). Onassis had one full-sister, Artemis, and two half-sisters, Kalliroi and Merope, by his father's second marriage following Penelope's death. Socrates Onassis came from the village of Moutalasski (now named Talas), near Cappadocia in Asia Minor, which is the present-day Kayseri province, in central Turkey. A successful shipping entrepreneur, he was able to send his children to prestigious schools. At the age of 16, Aristotle Onassis spoke four languages: Greek (his native language), Turkish, Spanish, and English, when he graduated from the local Evangelical Greek School .
After being briefly administered by Greece (1919–1922) in the aftermath of the allied victory in World War I, Smyrna was re-taken by Turkey and the Onassis family's substantial property holdings were lost, causing them to become refugees fleeing to Greece after the Great Fire of Smyrna. During this period Aristotle Onassis lost three uncles, an aunt and her husband Chrysostomos Konialidis and their daughter, who were burned to death on fire in a church in Thyatira where 500 Christians were seeking shelter from the Great Fire of Smyrna.
Onassis imported tobacco from Turkey with help from his father. The tobacco was softer than the Cuban variety, and he was sure it would appeal to women more. After the failure of a contract with Juan Gaona, the director of a major Argentine company, Onassis turned to making his own cigarettes. After some time managing this business and holding a job with British United River, he made a considerable amount of money. His power and influence increased rapidly; he frequently attended important social events, and in 1925 he received both Argentine and Greek citizenship. According to Peter Evans and Christian Cafarakis (a former employee) a considerable part of the tobacco was smuggled, helping him to rapidly accrue his first million dollars. In 1928, Onassis traded with Greece to the value of US$2,800,000 just four years after his arrival in Argentina. This was due in part to other illegitimate activities such as sabotaging his competitors and fraudulently using the name of a famous cigarette company: Bis. This last enterprise was profitable but ended when the real Bis company sued him.
The 1000% increase in tax on imported products from countries with no Greek trade agreement, announced in 1929, threatened Onassis' South American business. Argentina had few commercial relationships with Greece. With the help of his confidante, Costa Gratsos, Onassis corresponded the prime minister of Greece Eleutherios Venizelos and met with the foreign minister Andreas Michalakopoulos to discuss the tax position, finally winning support with the help of extensive bribes. In 1931, again with Michalakopoulos' help, Onassis was granted tax exemptions for his freight ships and the title of Vice Consul. This position greatly increased the status of Onassis as well as his business. The biographer Evans states that Onassis exchanged vast sums of Greek currency on the black market, in spite of Gratsos' disapproval.
In 1954, the FBI investigated Onassis for fraud against the U.S. government. He was charged with violating the citizenship provision of the shipping laws which require that all ships displaying the U.S. flag be owned by U.S. citizens. Onassis entered a guilty plea and paid $7 million.
Onassis founded Olympic Airways (today Olympic Air), the Greek national carrier, in 1957. To finance his ships he used a method that he, in his own words, described as utilizing OPM ('Other People's Money'). He contracted to transport ore in ships he did not yet have, and closed several contracts to transport oil with tankers that had not yet been built. Onassis made large profits when the big oil companies like Mobil, Socony, and Texaco signed long-term contracts at fixed prices with him for the use of his fleet, while having trouble managing their own fleet which operated under US flags and thus at high cost. Onassis' fleet had Panamanian flags and sailed tax-free while operating at low cost. Because of this, Onassis could turn a profit in every transaction, even though he charged one of the lowest prices in the merchant navy market. He could recoup the cost of a tanker with a six-month contract. The rest of the service life of the tanker, usually 20 years, yielded high profits.
Onassis' owned a fleet of freighters and tankers that exceeded the seventy vessels. Stocks accounted for one-third of his capital, held in oil companies in the USA, the Middle East, and Venezuela. He also owned additional shares that secured his control of ninety-five multinational businesses on five continents. He owned gold processing plants in Argentina and Uruguay and a large share in an airline in Latin America and $4 million dollars worth of investments in Brazil. Also, he owned companies like Olympic Maritime and Olympic Tourist, a chemical company in Persia, apartments in Paris, London, Monte Carlo, Athens, Acapulco, a castle in South France, the Olympic Tower, a fifty-two story high-rise in Manhattan, another building in Sutton Place, Olympic Airways and Air Navigation, the islands Scorpios and Sparta, the yacht "Christina" and, finally, deposit accounts and accounts in treasuries in two hundred and seventeen banks in the whole world.
Between 1950 and 1956, Onassis had success whale hunting off the Peruvian coast. His first expedition made a net profit of US$4.5 million. That business ended when the Norwegian Whales Gazette made accusations based on sailors' testimonials, such as one given by Bruno Schalaghecke who worked on the whaler Olympic Challenger: "Pieces of fresh meat from the 124 whales we killed yesterday still remains on the deck. Among them all, just one could be considered adult. All animals that pass within the range of the harpoon are killed in cold blood". The venture came to an end after the business was sold to Kyokuyo Hogei Kaisha Whaling Company, one of the biggest Japanese whaling companies, for $8.5 million
The Greek Colonel affair
According to the Evans biography, four days after his marriage with Jacqueline, Onassis was in close discussions with Colonel George Papadopoulos, who Evans states was on Onassis' extensive bribery list. Onassis and Papadopoulos were planning what they referred to as the "greatest business" in Greece. This project involved building an oil refinery, shipyards, power plants, and several aluminum facilities. The project was officially named the Omega Project. The project was heavily criticized by people such as Helen Vlachos, a journalist from Athens.
The Omega Project negotiations with the Papadopoulos government ended with Onassis losing part of the project to his competitor Stavros Niarchos. The failure was due partly to opposition from influential people within the military junta, such as Ioannis-Orlandos Rodinos, Deputy Minister of the National Economy, who opposed Onassis' offers in preference to Niarchos.
Relationships and family
Onassis married Athina Livanos, daughter of shipping magnate Stavros Livanos and Arietta Zafrikakis, on December 28, 1946. Their son, Alexander (April 30, 1948 – January 23, 1973), and daughter Christina (December 11, 1950 – November 19, 1988) after whom Onassis named his legendary super-yacht, were both born in New York City.
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. She divorced him when she discovered her husband having sex in the saloon of her daughter's namesake yacht, the Christina, with the opera singer Maria Callas.
Despite the fact they were both married, Onassis and opera diva Maria Callas embarked on an affair. They had 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".
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
According to Peter Evans, Onassis offered Mrs. Kennedy US$3 million for herself and $1m for each son in return for marriage. 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 and later reviewed by André Meyer, her financial consultant.
Onassis' daughter Christina made clear that she did not like Jacqueline Kennedy, and after Alexander's death, she convinced Onassis that Jacqueline had some kind of curse due to John and Robert Kennedy's murders. The already strained relationship between Aristotle and Jacqueline soon came to an end.
Death and legacy
Onassis died at age 69, on March 15, 1975 at the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, of respiratory failure, a complication of the myasthenia gravis that he had been suffering from during the last years of his life. According to his will, his daughter Christina was to inherit 55% of the Onassis fortune while the other 45% were used as funds for the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation set up to honor his son Alexander Onassis. This 45% was the share that his son Alexander would have inherited, had he not died in 1973. Jackie Kennedy also received her share of the estate settling for a reported $10,000,000 ($26 million according to other sources) which was negotiated by her brother-in-law Ted Kennedy (this amount would later grow to several hundred million under the financial stewardship of her companion Maurice Tempelsman). Christina's share has since passed to her only child Athina, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world.
- ^ Blyth, Myrna (12 August 2004). "Greek Tragedy, The life of Aristotle Onassis". National Review Online. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5f9H3HFrI. Retrieved 5 April 2008.
- ^ Smith, Helena, The Guardian, Callas takes centre stage again as exhibition recalls Onassis's life, Retrieved on 5 April 2008.
- ^ Cafarakis, Christian (1972). Ari: O Fabuloso Onassis. Editora Expressão e Cultura.
- ^ Gerald A. Carroll. Project Seek: Onassis, Kennedy, and the Gemstone thesis. Bridger House, 1994, ISBN 978-0-9640104-0-6, p. 50
- ^ Hussein, Waris, Onassis, the richest man in the world (1988), movie for television.
- ^ El fabuloso Onassis – Pesquisa de Livros do Google. Books.google.com.br. http://books.google.com.br/books?id=rmRXHQAACAAJ&dq=cafarakis+onassis&ei=WE1USIjmOJOaigGC35CJDA. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- ^ a b Evans, Peter (1986). Ari: The Life and Times of Aristotle Onassis. Summit Books. p. 58–60. ISBN 0671465082.
- ^ a b c d Evans, Peter (1986). Ari: The Life and Times of Aristotle Onassis. Summit Books. p. 62–63. ISBN 0671465082.
- ^ Dimitris Liberopoulos, personal biographer of Aristotle Onassis
- ^ a b c d Evans, Peter (1986). Ari: The Life and Times of Aristotle Onassis. Summit Books. p. 262. ISBN 0671465082.
- ^ Evans, Peter (1986). Ari: The Life and Times of Aristotle Onassis. Summit Books. p. 113. ISBN 0671465082.
- ^ "Video Biography of Aristotles Onassis". Thebiographychannel.co.uk. 11 August 2008. http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- ^ Cheslow, Jerry. If You're Thinking of Living In/Peapack and Gladstone; Fox-Hunting and High-Priced Homes, The New York Times, August 7, 1994. Accessed March 21, 2011. "She does have a story about Aristotle Onassis, who rented a home in neighboring Bernardsville with his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis."
- ^ "Onassis, Aristotle". Findarticles.com. 2003. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_gx5229/is_2003/ai_n19152767/print. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- "Onassis: Pioneer in Shipping", by George M. Foustanos, 2006.
- Aristotle Onassis: The Golden Greek (documentary on the life of Onassis, in english language with greek subtitles)
- FBI file on Aristotle Onassis
- "Aristotle Onassis". Find a Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6278. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
- Onassis: The Richest Man in the World at imdb.com
Athina Onassis Roussel's ancestors Socrates Onassis • Penelope DologlouAristotle Onassis • Artemis Garofalidi Aristotle Onassis • Athina Mary Livanos Socrates Onassis • Eleni TzortzoglouMerope Konialidi • Kallirroi Patronikola Henri Roussel • Francine GrindaChristine de Luynes • Patricia Roussel • Thierry Roussel Jean-Paul Grinda • FrançoiseFrancine Grinda Roussel • Jean-Noël Grinda • Hélène Grinda Lejeune • Olivier Grinda Stavros George Livanos • Arietta ZafirakisEugenia Livanos • Athina Livanos • George S. Livanos Skorpios • Christina O • Alexander S. Onassis Foundation
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Look at other dictionaries:
Onassis — may refer to: As a surname Aristotle Onassis (1904–1975), a Greek shipping magnate Alexander Onassis (1948–1973), son of Aristotle Onassis Christina Onassis (1950–1988), a Greek shipping magnate and daughter of Aristotle Onassis Athina Onassis… … Wikipedia
Aristotle (disambiguation) — Aristotle or Aristoteles may refer to: *Aristotle, the Greek philosopher of the 4th century BC *Places named after Aristotle: **Aristoteles (crater), a crater on the Moon. **Aristotle University of Thessaloniki **Aristotelous Square, in… … Wikipedia
Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy — orig. Jacqueline Bouvier born July 28, 1929, Southampton, N.Y., U.S. died May 19, 1994, New York, N.Y. U.S. first lady, socialite, and editor. After graduating from George Washington University in 1951 she took a job as a reporter photographer at … Universalium
Onassis, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy — ▪ 1995 U.S. first lady (b. July 28, 1929, East Hampton, N.Y. d. May 19, 1994, New York, N.Y.), redefined the role of first lady with her dignified elegance, magnetic charm, trend setting style, and especially her cool composure after the… … Universalium
Onassis — /oh nas is, oh nah sis/, n. 1. Aristotle Socrates, 1906 75, Greek businessman, born in Turkey. 2. Jacqueline (Lee Bouvier Kennedy) /booh vee ay /, ( Jackie ), 1929 94, wife of John F. Kennedy (1953 63) and Aristotle Onassis (1968 75). * * * … Universalium
Onassis — O•nas•sis [[t]oʊˈnæs ɪs, oʊˈnɑ sɪs[/t]] n. 1) big Aristotle Socrates, 1906–75, Greek businessman, born in Turkey 2) big Jacqueline (Lee Bouvier Kennedy)(“Jackie”), 1929–94, wife of John F. Kennedy (1953–63) and Aristotle Onassis (1968–75) … From formal English to slang
Onassis — /oʊˈnæsəs/ (say oh nasuhs) noun 1. Aristotle Socrates, 1906–75, Greek shipping magnate, born in Turkey. 2. Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy (Jackie), 1929–94, wife of Aristotle Onassis and previously of US president John Kennedy … Australian English dictionary
Onassis — Aristote Onassis Aristote Onassis Naissance 15 janvier 1906 Smyrne … Wikipédia en Français
Onassis, Aristotle Socrates — ▪ Greek businessman born January 7 [January 20, New Style], 1906, Smyrna [now İzmir], Turkey died March 15, 1975, Neuilly sur Seine, near Paris, France Greek shipping magnate who developed a fleet of supertankers and freighters larger than the… … Universalium
Onassis — O|nas|sis, Aristotle (1906 75) a Greek ship owner, famous for being extremely rich, who married Jackie Kennedy, the ↑widow of US President John F. Kennedy, in 1968. Before that he had a long relationship with Maria Callas. Onassis 2 Onassis,… … Dictionary of contemporary English