Aristotle Onassis

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Smyrna, Ottoman Empire
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The biography of Aristotle Onassis is a wonderful rags to riches tale. He rose from obscurity to become a global business titan and one of the world’s wealthiest men. He was born into a wealthy family and had a privileged upbringing, but the good times did not last long as the family lost their business and home during Turkey’s invasion of Greece and the Great Fire of Smyra. Onassis began his career as a telephone exchange clerk, but he had ambitions and dreams that far exceeded those of the world’s commercial tycoons. Soon after, he began negotiating business agreements that netted him a large sum of money. He subsequently built a commercial empire by manufacturing cigarettes, making him not just a wealthy but also a business mogul. He went on to broaden his business activities by acquiring a shipping company. He was a Geek Argentine shipping mogul in no time. He was recognized throughout his life for his vast corporate empire, massive bank account, and tumultuous romantic relationships. Read the following lines if you want to learn more about his life and profession.

Childhood and Adolescence

Aristotle Onassis was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyra, parents Socrates and Penelope Dologu. He was the sole son of the parents, who had a daughter named Artemis. He also had two half-sisters.

As a result of his upbringing in a wealthy family, young Onassis had the opportunity to attend elite schools. He had mastered four languages by the time he was sixteen. He received his education at the local Evangelical Greek School.

Career of Aristotle Onassis

In 1923, he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to work as a telephone engineer for the British United River Plate Telephone Company, following Turkey’s invasion of Greece and the ensuing Great Fire of Smyra.

He began eavesdropping on significant business calls while working as a telephone engineer, and he used the knowledge gleaned to negotiate his own transactions. He began securing large transactions that brought in a lot of money almost immediately.

He got the notion to restart his father’s tobacco business while overhearing a conversation. He began importing tobacco from Turkey and sought for a business partner.

He moved to making his own brand of cigarettes after failing to negotiate a deal for his tobacco. His firm prospered, as did his reputation and net worth. He quickly amassed a sizable fortune and established himself as a powerful figure in the social circle.

He soon recognized that delivering tobacco made shipping merchants more money than cigarette manufacturers. As a result of his ambition, he began purchasing ships at a period when the shipping industry was declining. It took him a few days to increase the size of his fleet.

He signed a commercial agreement with Greece in 1928. He became involved in a variety of illegal activities at this time, including smuggling, bribery, and so on. He even damaged his competition by impersonating established and well-known tobacco companies.

In 1929, a 1000 percent increase in import taxes dealt a serious blow to his South American commercial interests. Not one to give up lightly, he paid Greek ministers to obtain tax exemptions in large amounts. In 1931, he accomplished the feat once more.

He made a living whaling off the coast of Peru from 1950 until 1956. He generated a whopping $4.5 million profit on his first deal. He sold the company to Kyokuyo Hogei Kaisha, a Japanese whaling corporation, for $8.5 million, and that was the end of it.

He entered the airline sector in 1957, taking over the faltering Greek government airline and transforming it into a lucrative private company known as Olympic Airways. He negotiated lucrative long-term contracts at set prices with major oil firms. As a result, he was able to profit from every commercial arrangement he made.

He rose to become a global commercial magnate in a short period of time. He owned stocks in major oil companies in the United States, the Middle East, and Venezuela, controlled over ninety-five multinational businesses, had gold processing plants in Argentina and Uruguay, and made massive investments in Latin America and Brazil, in addition to his tobacco venture and booming shipping business.

In several cities around the world, he possessed apartments, buildings, even a castle. He owned islands like Scorpios and Sparta and had accounts in over 200 banks throughout the world.

Personal History and Legacy

He was a womanizer who had a string of relationships with well-known ladies all around the world. His marriage to Athina Livanos, half his age but the daughter of a shipping mogul, took place in December 1946. The couple have two children together.

Following his infidelity and love involvement with singer Maria Callas, which began in 1957, his marriage with Livanos did not continue long, and the two divorced in 1960.

He broke up with Callas and became friends with Jackie Kennedy, the widow of President John F. Kennedy. The couple’s bond grew stronger as they became lovers and married in 1968.

In 1973, his first marriage’s son perished in an aircraft disaster, bringing misery to his family. He was devastated by the tragedy.

He died two years later, on March 15, 1975, in the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, of respiratory failure, a complication of his myasthenia gravis, which he had been suffering from for the previous two years. He was laid to rest near his son Alexander on his island.

Aristotle Onassis Net Worth

Aristotle Onassis was a Greek-Argentine shipping magnate who had a net worth of $500 million at the time of his death which is the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $2.3 billion. Aristotle Onassis was born in Karatas, Smyrna, Ottoman Empire in January 1906 and passed away in March 1975. He managed to amass the world’s largest privately owned shipping fleet and at the time was one of the richest and most famous men in the world.


This Greek-Argentine shipping entrepreneur abandoned his high-profile engagement with opera soprano Marie Callas to marry Jackie Kennedy, the widow of President John F. Kennedy.