Onassis, Aristotle Socrates

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Onassis, Aristotle Socrates

Aristotle Socrates Onassis (âr´Ĭstŏt´əl sŏk´rətēz ōnăs´Ĭs), 1906?–75, Greek shipowner and financier, b. Turkey. Leaving Turkey after the Turkish defeat of Greek forces at Smyrna (1922), he revived the family tobacco business in Argentina. In 1925 he received Argentinean and Greek citizenship. Onassis purchased his first ships in the early 1930s and later in the decade became the first Greek shipowner to enter the tanker business. In 1946 he married the daughter of the influential Greek shipowner Stavros Livanos, and he later became the brother-in-law of Stavros Niarchos, another Greek shipowner; together the three men formed the most powerful shipping clan in the world. Later, however, considerable rivalry developed among them. After divorcing (1961) his first wife, he gained special prominence in the United States through his marriage (1968) to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (see Onassis, Jacqueline Bouvier), widow of President John F. Kennedy. A controversial figure in world finance, Onassis was formerly the principal stockholder of the company that controlled the Monte Carlo casino. He was also the founder (1957) of Olympic Airways of Greece.

See biographies by C. Cafaris and J. Harvey (tr. 1972) and F. Brady (1978).

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