It can be easily argued that Maria Callas — born Maria Kalogeropoulos in New York City — remains to this day, one of the most famous women in history.
In her heyday as the iconic opera soprano, Callas and her on and off-stage lifestyle commanded tens of thousands of media impressions and tabloid stories. Numerous books have been written on Callas’ life and career and to this day, her records remain best-sellers.
Dozens of books have been written about the diva’s life, including Nicholas Gage’s Greek Fire: The Story of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis and Arianna Huffington’s Maria Callas: The Woman behind the Legend.
In honor of what would have been the late diva’s birthday, we’ve assembled our 11 favorite images.
Maria Callas arrives in the United States — poodle in hand — following a trip to Europe in 1958.
Maria Callas on the set of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Medea in 1948.
When Marilyn met Maria at JFK’s Birthday party on May 19, 1962.
Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas at a party at “The Dorchester,” London 1959 (Photo by Desmond O’Neill).
Maria Callas and Aristote Onassis, 1960s. Their scandalous love affair was the subject of Nicholas Gage’s book “The Greek Fire.”
Portrait of Maria Callas on the yacht of Aristotle Onassis by Ara Güler, 1950’s — Winston Churchill is smoking a cigar in the background.
A shore excursion in St. Tropez, France, during a cruise with the Onassis yacht; in the foreground from the left: Sarah Churchill, Maria Callas, and Tina Onassis.
A reminder of her star status — Callas is mobbed by admirers after her last performance at La Scala in 1961.
Yelling at U.S. Dep. Marshal Stanley Pringle after he served Callas a lawsuit for breach of contract following a performance of Madame Butterfly in Chicago in 1955. Callas reportedly screamed “I will not be sued! I have the voice of an angel! No man can sue me.”
Portrait of Maria Callas by Thomas McAvoy in the opera Médée by Luigi Cherubini in 1958.
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