n°70/ The Callas Syndrome

June 2013


by Nathalie Azoulai


When American columnist and socialite Elsa Maxwell gave her Venitian party in September 1957, she didn’t know she would start a love disaster involving two Greek lovers, Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis. Maria gave up everything for him but he still wouldn’t marry her while he accepted to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968. Two days before the wedding though, Onassis would call Maria to ask her to come to Athens and « save him ». A few weeks after the wedding, he was back again at Maria's doorstep in Paris ''shouting, whistling for Madame to let him in.'' But Maria didn’t give in. Any woman in love with a weak man should learn how to keep her door closed. Let’s call it the Callas Syndrome. In 1975, while Aristotle was dying, Maria sent him a red cashmere Hermès blanket. He took it to the hospital where he died all alone. That was her final gift. Heartbroken Callas died two years later. Some fairy tales do end very sadly.


 Callas & Onassis

 Elsa Maxwell