20150625

ARI

Aristotle Onassis was said to have held 3 passports: from Argentina, Monaco and Greece. When Ari went into the hospital in 1974 to remove his gall bladder, nurse Francoise Picquet remembered, "Onassis spoke to his daughter in Greek, to Jackie in English and to me in French." In 1970, Ari told Success Unlimited magazine, "Take care of your body...Eat lightly and stay away from wines and rich food...Wait until evening...then enjoy a good meal...Exercise...the basic yoga exercises help immensely." 

Observers noted Ari's accomplishments in shipping were remarkable. Philip Dopoulos of the Associated Press pointed out in 1975, "Aristotle Onassis' empire, a spider's web of international corporations, is expected to remain intact and continue flourishing (after his death). Although Onassis made the key decisions, he had some of the world's most talented businessmen advising him in the accumulation and control of an empire estimated at more than $1 billion. His advisers sit in London, Monte Carlo and New York, the control points for worldwide interests in shipping, real estate, mining and a variety of other fields." According to one shipping expert in Athens, "Unravelling his empire would be like playing 3 dimensional backgammon." 

John Theodoracopoulos believed, "(Ari) revolutionized the building of new ships with his brilliant idea of paying for them with charters. Under this system, Onassis would meet construction costs by chartering out a ship – to an oil company, for example – to carry cargo. The charters were usually for long periods." Rual Julia played the son-in-law of Benito Mussolini in the 1986 mini-series, 'Mussolini: The Untold Story'. In 1988, he played Aristotle Onassis. Rual told the press, "(Ari) was a self-made man who left Greece when he was in his early 20s with $250 and went to Buenos Aires. He sold ties on the street and worked as a telephone operator. Then he got the idea, I think from watching a Rudolph Valentino film, of making cigarettes for women. When he learned how much money the ship owners were making he bought 6 old tankers at a bargain. Then he found the shipping business was like a closed fraternity. He had to marry into one of the great Greek shipping families (Stavros Livanos' daughter) to make a go of it. 

"(Ari) was a man who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. He was very persuasive, very charming. He knew how to manipulate people into doing his wishes. He was very cunning...absolutely ruthless. Ari and Maria (Callas) had a very stormy, passionate affair. They were both Greek. They loved each other madly and they fought as madly as they loved. They never married. They were both married to someone else. I would say it lasted until he died. Even after he married Jackie he saw her several times." 

Guy Gugliotta reported in 1975, "In the 1960s, a handful of international gamblers, using the biggest ships on earth, made fortunes transporting crude oil to the markets of the world. Among the old-time tycoons in the select clique were: Aristotle Onassis, Stavros Niarchos and Milos Coloctronis of Greece, Texan Daniel K. Ludwig, C.Y. Tung and Y.K. Pao of Hong Kong, Hilmar Reksten of Norway and Ravi Tikoo of India. Spurred by the closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 and spiraling demand for petroleum in the years that followed, the independent shippers began ordering giant 200,000-480,000 deadweight ton supertankers to transport Middle Eastern oil to the markets of the industrial world. The new ships, the smallest of them nearly twice the size of the Queen Elizabeth II, enabled the shipowners to carry oil around the Cape of Good Hope to Europe and North America at low prices without a Suez shortcut. 

"The tankers were expensive – Ravi Tikoo paid $55 million for 476,000-ton Globtik Tokyo in 1973 – but the profits were tremendous. Shipyards and port facilities in the Far East and Europe expanded to build and accommodate the giant tankers. New shipbuilding technology was developed. Suddenly, with the Arab oil embargo in late 1973 and the subsequent sharp rise in crude oil prices at Persian Gulf wellheads in 1974, world oil demand slumped. With less oil to transport, fewer ships were needed. Oil companies that once supplemented their own fleets with chartered independent tankers found some of the extra ships unnecessary. Oil freight rates plunged. By 1975 the independents found themselves plagued by a problem known in the industry as 'overtonnage' – too many ships to move too little oil."

"We have been too long in the casino, and now it's time to go to church," stated one tankerman. Nicholas Gage of the New York Times reported in 1977, "Today (in 1977), the shipping business is even worse, and supertankers, which make up 80% of the Onassis tonnage, have been hit the hardest. Cutbacks in the importing of oil and overproduction of tankers have caused a huge surplus of tonnage. As a result, chartering rates today are well below the operating costs for supertankers like those in the Onassis fleet." Costas Hadjiantoniou of Ceres Hellenic Shipping Enterprises expressed, "I don't see any upturn until at least 1980, and I'm afraid it may take a lot longer than that." Ari once said, "In shipping, the advantage is always to the one with the most patience." It was understood, "Some diversified into other fields creating enterprises that could absorb shipping losses. The Onassis empire has the cash reserves to take such losses if the shipping depression continue for several more years."

Back in 1975, Jack Anderson with Les Whitten of the St. Petersburg Times reported, "For a moment in history, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was superb. The nation will not soon forget that time of shock and grief after Dallas when she rose above the shattering personal ordeal to give those bitter hours a presence of dignity and nobility which has become part of our national heritage. For the Kennedy legions who look to her as the keeper of the legend and to the millions who saw her as a latter-day Madonna, her sudden marriage to Aristotle Onassis – the aging, alien gnome of colossal wealth and sinister reputation – clouded the vision of Camelot." It was said, "The aura of Camelot remained so strong, it was almost impossible to separate the mythical Jackie from the reality Jackie." Ronald Reagan acknowledged, "Few women throughout history have touched the hearts and shaped the dreams of Americans more profoundly than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis." 

Fred Sparks and Stephanos Zotos of the North American Newspaper Alliance reported in 1968, "Onassis has long operated in an atmosphere which generates political violence...Onassis has been blacklisted by the Norwegian Shipowner's Association (NSA) and the British Chamber of Shipping (BCS). His brother-in-law Stavros Niarchos had said, 'Onassis commits political crimes and economic monstrosities'...If Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis believes – as she has said – that her marriage to Onassis will bring her peace and serenity, and remove her from the atmosphere of instant violence she lived with so tragically long, she is either mistaken or very na├»ve." 

Jackie married Ari in October 1968 at the Chapel of Paniyitsa (Little Virgin) on Skorpios. "The ceremony was performed by Father Polykorpos Athanasias in Greek. The high point came when the priest raised the gold-encased New Testament and both bride and groom in turn kissed it. Jackie's eyes misted over at this point and she came near to fully crying. They then did the dance of Isaiah 3 times around the alter; Jackie and Ari did a slow prance, while everyone gathered closely around and threw flower petals at them, while they tried to perform the custom of attempting to step on each other's feet. According to Greek superstition, whoever steps first on the other's foot is guaranteed the dominant role in the marriage." 

In 1971, Christian Kafarakis told the London's People newspaper that 3 days before the 1968 marriage, a contract was "thrashed out between their lawyers". Lynn Alpha typed the first draft and delivered to Andre Meyer. Christian Kafarakis observed, "I am one of the few people to learn the contents of this remarkable document with its 170 clauses covering down to the smallest detail of the married life of this celebrated couple." Frank Brady made the observation in 1977, "Although the marriage was not thoroughly devoid of affectionate and tender moments, she had long since become disillusioned by his reputation as the most aggressive woman chaser in contemporary American politics.

"His last will and testament published in Athens on June 6, 1975 left half his vast fortune to charity. He left instructions to establish a philanthropic foundation that would create or support public welfare institutions, mostly in Greece. The foundation was to be set up in Vaduz, Lichenstein (which has no income taxes) in the name of his late son Alexander, and would be administered by a board of directors that would include Christina and Jacqueline. Onassis made provisions in the will for (the annual inflation-proof allowance to Jackie) to be readjusted every 3 years for inflations, so that their buying value (will) stay as much as possible at the level of the buying value of the year 1973." 

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