Little Bits of History

October 20

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 20, 2017

1968: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis. Jackie was born in 1929 to a Wall Street stockbroker. After graduating from George Washington University, she went to work for the Washington Times-Herald as a photographer. She met Congressman John F. Kennedy in 1952 and they were married in 1953. They had four children, two of them dying in infancy. Kennedy was elected as US President in 1960 and assassinated in 1963. Jackie was riding in the open convertible when her husband was shot. She withdrew from public life after his funeral. Her brother-in-law, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968 as he made a bid for the presidency. Jackie was concerned that with more murders within the Kennedy clan, she and her children were in danger. She opted to marry her longtime friend, Onassis, in a bid for privacy and safety.

Onassis was born in 1906 in Karatas, in what is today Turkey. The area where the Onassis family held considerable wealth came under a host of different government bodies and in 1922 they were forced to flee as refugees. Onassis became a shipping magnate and built up his wealth while living in Buenos Aires. At the age of 40, he married 17 year old Athina Livanos, daughter of another shipping magnate and the couple had two children, both born in New York City. They divorced in 1960. Onassis had a well publicized affair with opera singer, Maria Callas, but they never married.

On this day, he and Kennedy were married on Skorpios, a private Greek island owned by Onassis in the Ionian Sea. Kennedy changed her name to Onassis and gave up her Secret Service protection, something due to the widow of a US President. She faced considerable backlash for her new marriage in part because Onassis was divorced, something against the Roman Catholic Church’s rules. There was speculation she might be excommunicated, but she was not. The couple lived in six different residences during their brief marriage. Two were in the US, two were in Greece, one in Paris, and the last was aboard Onassis’s yacht, Christina O.

Alexander Onassis was killed in a plane crash in 1973 and his father’s health rapidly declined. He died of respiratory failure in Paris in 1975. Jackie, as a non-Greek spouse had limited access to her husband’s estate. After two years of legal battles, she accepted a $26 million settlement from Christina Onassis, the daughter and sole survivor of Aristotle. Jackie returned to the US and lived the rest of her life there. She became a consulting editor at Viking Press and then moved to Doubleday. She was diagnosed with cancer and within the year had died at the age of 64.

If they’re killing Kennedys, then my children are targets … I want to get out of this country. – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning. – Aristotle Onassis

After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts. – Aristotle Onassis