The Greek Tycoon (1978) - How the Movie Portrays the Relationship between Onassis and Kennedy
The Greek Tycoon: A Movie Inspired by Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy
If you are interested in the lives of famous and wealthy people, you might have heard of Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy. They were two of the most influential figures of the 20th century, who had a controversial and turbulent relationship that captured the attention of the world. Their story was also the inspiration for a 1978 movie called The Greek Tycoon, starring Anthony Quinn and Jacqueline Bisset. In this article, we will explore who Onassis and Kennedy were, how they met and married, what the movie was about, and how it was received by critics and audiences.
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Who was Aristotle Onassis?
Aristotle Onassis was a Greek shipping magnate who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the richest men in the world. He was born in 1906 in Smyrna, a city that was then part of the Ottoman Empire and is now in Turkey. He fled to Greece with his family after the Turkish invasion of Smyrna in 1922, which resulted in a massacre of Greeks and Armenians. He started his business career as a tobacco trader, but soon moved into shipping, where he made his fortune by buying old ships and converting them into oil tankers. He also owned airlines, islands, hotels, casinos, and other businesses. He was known for his lavish lifestyle, his charisma, his ambition, and his affairs with famous women.
Who was Jackie Kennedy?
Jackie Kennedy was an American socialite, journalist, and First Lady who became a symbol of elegance, grace, and culture. She was born in 1929 in Southampton, New York, into a wealthy and prominent family. She studied at prestigious schools and colleges, where she excelled in arts and languages. She worked as a photographer and editor for newspapers and magazines before marrying John F. Kennedy, a young senator from Massachusetts, in 1953. She became First Lady in 1961 when her husband was elected President of the United States. She captivated the nation and the world with her beauty, style, intelligence, and charm. She also faced tragedy when her husband was assassinated in 1963 while they were riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.
How did they meet and marry?
Onassis and Kennedy met for the first time in 1957 at a dinner party hosted by Winston Churchill's son-in-law in London. They were both married at the time: Onassis to Athina Livanos, a daughter of another Greek shipping tycoon; and Kennedy to John F. Kennedy, who was then a senator and a presidential candidate. They were both attracted to each other, but did not pursue a relationship until years later. After John F. Kennedy's death in 1963, Onassis offered his support and friendship to Jackie Kennedy, who was grieving and under intense media scrutiny. He invited her and her children to stay on his private island of Skorpios in Greece, where they grew closer. They also faced opposition from their families and friends: Onassis's wife divorced him in 1966 after accusing him of adultery; and Kennedy's brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy, who was then Attorney General and a potential presidential candidate, disapproved of their relationship. Despite these obstacles, they married in 1968 in a Greek Orthodox ceremony on Skorpios. Their marriage lasted until Onassis's death in 1975.
The Plot of the Movie
The main characters and their counterparts
The movie The Greek Tycoon is a fictionalized account of Onassis's and Kennedy's relationship, with some changes to the names and details of the characters and events. The movie stars Anthony Quinn as Theo Tomasis (based on Aristotle Onassis), Jacqueline Bisset as Liz Cassidy (based on Jackie Kennedy), James Franciscus as James Cassidy (based on John F. Kennedy), Edward Albert as Nico Tomasis (based on Alexander Onassis), Camilla Sparv as Simi Tomasis (based on Athina Livanos), Marilu Tolo as Sophia Matalas (based on Maria Callas), Charles Durning as Michael Russell (based on Robert F. Kennedy), Luciana Paluzzi as Paola Scotti (based on Christina Onassis), Roland Culver as Robert Keith (based on Winston Churchill), Robin Clarke as John Cassidy (based on Ted Kennedy), Kathryn Leigh Scott as Nancy Cassidy (based on Ethel Kennedy), Tony Jay as Doctor (based on Christiaan Barnard), John Bennett as Servant (based on Spiros Skouras), Katherine Schofield as Helena (based on Lee Radziwill), Joan Benham as Lady Allison (based on Pamela Churchill Harriman), Linda Thorson as Angela (based on Calliope Goulandris), Guy Deghy as Tablir (based on Stavros Niarchos), among others.
The key events and scenes
The movie follows the same timeline as the real story, but with some dramatization and embellishment of the events and scenes. Some of the key moments include:
Theo Tomasis meets Liz Cassidy for the first time at a dinner party hosted by Robert Keith in London.
Theo Tomasis invites James Cassidy to visit his island estate with Liz Cassidy while he is campaigning for president.
Theo Tomasis woos Liz Cassidy aboard his yacht while James Cassidy is busy talking to Robert Keith.
Theo Tomasis's son Nico dies in an airplane crash.
Theo Tomasis's wife Simi commits suicide after finding out about his affair with Sophia Matalas.
James Cassidy becomes president and appoints his brother Michael Russell as attorney general.
James Cassidy is assassinated while walking on a beach with Liz Cassidy.
Theo Tomasis offers his condolences and support to Liz Cassidy after her husband's death.
Theo Tomasis invites Liz Cassidy and her children to stay on his island of Skorpios.
Theo Tomasis ends his affair with Sophia Matalas to marry Liz Cassidy.
Theo Tomasis faces opposition from his daughter Paola Scotti and his former brother-in-law Tablir.
Liz Cassidy faces opposition from her brother-in-law Michael Russell and her sister Helena.
Theo Tomasis marries Liz Cassidy in a Greek Orthodox ceremony on Skorpios.
Theo Tomasis becomes ill after undergoing heart surgery performed by Doctor.
Liz Cassidy stays by Theo Tomasis's side until he dies.
The similarities and differences with reality
The movie tries to portray the relationship between Onassis and Kennedy as accurately as possible, but it also takes some artistic liberties with some aspects of their story. Some of the similarities include:
The physical resemblance of the actors to their real-life counterparts.
The use of actual locations such as London, New York, Washington D.C., Athens, Skorpios, etc.
The depiction of historical events such as World War II ,the Turkish invasion of Smyrna ,the Cuban Missile Crisis ,the assassination of John F. Kennedy ,the assassination attempt on Robert F. Kennedy ,etc.
The inclusion of real-life figures such as Winston Churchill ,Maria Callas ,Christina Onassis ,Stavros Niarchos ,Lee Radziwill ,Pamela Churchill Harriman ,Calliope Goulandris ,Spiros Skouras ,Christiaan Barnard ,etc.
Some of the differences include:
The change of names of some characters to avoid legal issues or confusion.
The exaggeration or invention of some scenes or dialogues to create drama or humor.
The omission or alteration of some details or facts to simplify or condense the story.
The use of fictional characters or subplots to fill in gaps or add interest.
The Reception of the Movie
The critical reviews
The box office performance
The movie was not a big hit at the box office, earning only $14 million in the United States and Canada . It was also overshadowed by another movie about Onassis and Kennedy that was released in the same year: Onassis: The Richest Man in the World, a TV miniseries starring Raul Julia and Jane Seymour. The movie did better in some foreign markets, especially in Greece, where it was popular among Onassis's fans and admirers.
The awards and nominations
The movie received one nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for the song "Aphrodite" by Vangelis and Tim Rice, sung by Nana Mouskouri. However, it lost to "Last Dance" by Paul Jabara from the movie Thank God It's Friday. The movie did not receive any other major awards or nominations.
The main points of the article
In this article, we have discussed the following points:
The Greek Tycoon is a 1978 movie inspired by the relationship between Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy.
The movie tells the story of how they met, fell in love, and married, despite their personal and professional challenges.
The movie is based on real events and characters, but it also makes some changes and additions to create a fictionalized account.
The movie received mixed reviews from critics and moderate success at the box office.
The movie was nominated for one Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
The significance of the movie
The movie is significant because it is one of the few cinematic representations of Onassis and Kennedy, who were two of the most fascinating and influential people of their time. Their relationship was controversial and captivating, as they were both powerful and glamorous, but also vulnerable and human. Their story reflects the political and social changes of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the personal and emotional struggles of love and loss. The movie also showcases the talents of Anthony Quinn and Jacqueline Bisset, who give convincing and nuanced performances as the titular characters.
The recommendation for the audience
If you are interested in watching The Greek Tycoon, you can find it on DVD or online streaming platforms. You might enjoy it if you like biographical dramas, romantic stories, or historical movies. You might also learn something new about Onassis and Kennedy, or gain a different perspective on their relationship. However, you should also be aware that the movie is not a documentary or a faithful adaptation of their real lives. It is a fictionalized account that takes some artistic liberties with some aspects of their story. Therefore, you should not take everything you see or hear in the movie as fact. You should also do your own research if you want to know more about Onassis and Kennedy, or compare the movie with other sources of information.
Here are some frequently asked questions about The Greek Tycoon:
Q: Is The Greek Tycoon based on a book?A: No, The Greek Tycoon is not based on a book. It is based on a story by Nico Mastorakis , Win Wells , and Morton S. Fine , who loosely based it on Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy.
Q: Did Onassis and Kennedy have any children together?A: No, Onassis and Kennedy did not have any children together. They both had children from their previous marriages: Onassis had two children (Alexander and Christina) with Athina Livanos; and Kennedy had four children (Arabella, Caroline, John Jr., and Patrick) with John F. Kennedy.
Q: How did Onassis die?A: Onassis died in 1975 at the age of 69 from respiratory failure caused by myasthenia gravis , a neuromuscular disease that affects the muscles and nerves. He had been suffering from poor health for several years before his death.
Q: How did Kennedy die?A: Kennedy died in 1994 at the age of 64 from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma , a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. She had been diagnosed with the disease in 1993 and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments before her death.
Q: Are there any other movies or shows about Onassis and Kennedy?A: Yes, there are other movies or shows about Onassis and Kennedy, such as:
Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988), a TV miniseries starring Raul Julia and Jane Seymour.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981), a TV movie starring Jaclyn Smith and James Franciscus.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Life (2000), a TV documentary narrated by Joanne Woodward.
A Woman Named Jackie (1991), a TV miniseries starring Roma Downey and Stephen Collins.
The Kennedys (2011), a TV miniseries starring Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear.