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Many knew about his rival Aristotle Onassis, probably because of his craving for famous women. But Stavros Niarchos was in no way inferior to him. His personal life was like a fascinating series with a quick change of characters and scenery, his business grew by leaps and bounds, and the passions that overwhelmed the Greek billionaire seemed indomitable. By the way, he was even married to the first wife of his eternal rival, and today the grandson of Stavros Niarchos, named after him, is married to Diana Zhukova, the ex-wife of Roman Abramovich.
Stavros Niarchos was lucky to be born into a very wealthy family. He didn't have to fight his way through this life. His parents, Spyros Niarchos and Eugenia Kumantaros, lived in Buffalo, New York before Stavros was born, where they owned a large department store. But shortly before the birth of their son, they decided to return to their homeland in Greece.
It was here that Stavros studied and took his first steps in business. He graduated from the primary school of the Narda Academy, studied law at the University of Athens, and then took his first steps in the family business, joining maternal relatives who traded in grain. Despite his youth and inexperience, he was able to convince relatives that for the further development of the business and competitiveness in the market, their company needs its own ships.
Soon, the grain company had its own merchant flotilla, headed by Stavros Niarchos. Here he showed all his entrepreneurial talents and ambitions. The profit of the main enterprise immediately increased, but the Second World War intervened. While Stavros fought in the navy, his own flotilla was ruthlessly destroyed as a result of the fighting. At the end of the war, Niarchos set to work with a vengeance. Thanks to the two million insurance he received for his lost ships, the businessman acquired new ships. His most famous asset was the yacht Atlantis, which was donated to the King of Saudi Arabia Fagd and renamed Issham al Baher. He later founded the international shipping company Niarchos Ltd.
In 1952, two owners of large shipping companies, Stavros Niarchos and Aristotle Onassis, simultaneously ordered powerful supertankers for their enterprises to transport oil. They both wanted to become the owners of the most powerful tanker, but as a result they got possession of exactly the same vessels. Only in 1955, Niarchos got the most powerful supertanker at that time, which he named after his newborn son - Spyros Niarchos. With Aristotle Onassis, Stavros walked in the same direction, they practically did not yield to each other in key moments. At the same time, they competed not only in business, but also in personal life.
The second passion of Stavros Niarchos was, like that of his rival, women. And here, it seems, Aristotle Onassis was able to, if not defeat him, then definitely - to get ahead. In their youth, they were both in love with Athena, the daughter of another of their competitors - Stavros Livanos. They both courted her, but the girl preferred Onassis, decisively refusing Niarchos. Athena married Aristotle in 1946 and became the mother of his two children.
Stavros, however, in 1947 married Eugenia, the sister of Athena. It was an extremely confusing and complex story. Evgenia became his third wife. The first was the daughter of the Greek admiral Elena Sporides, the second was Melpomene Kapparis, the widow of a Greek diplomat.
He lived with Eugenia Livanos for almost 20 years, during which he managed to divorce her and marry Charlotte Ford, daughter of Henry Ford II. True, in this marriage he quickly became disillusioned and nevertheless returned to his third wife and lived with her until her death in 1970. He did not have to marry a second time, since the divorce was not recognized by the church. The fifth wife of Stavros in 1971 was the same Athena Livanos, who was the wife of his rival Onassis. This marriage lasted three years, until the death of Athena. By the way, the causes of death of Eugenia and Athena were the same - an overdose of barbiturates.
In addition to official wives, Niarchos had many serious and not very romances. His lovers were Pamela Churchill and Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy, and he was in a relationship with Princess Firial of Jordan until the last day of his life. The billionaire had five children. Four, the daughter of Maria and the sons of Philip, Spyros and Constantine, were born by his third wife, Eugene, Charlotte Ford became Elena's mother.
Horses and art
Two more passions have dominated Stavros Niarhos over the years. The first concerned art objects. Having become the owner of his first billion dollars in 1956, the Greek tycoon acquired from the actor Edward Robinson a collection of fifty-eight paintings by impressionist painters and sculpture by Degas. Subsequently, Niarchos expanded the collection many times, complementing it with works by Corot, Degas, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Renoir, Cézanne, Utrillo and Picasso, from whom he bought a self-portrait for almost $ 48 million in 1989. He also collected antique furniture and silverware. Today this collection belongs to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which was created after the death of the tycoon.
Niarchos started racing in the early 1950s when he won his very first race at Middle Park Stakes. Later, however, Stavros managed to curb his passion, and even then only because the business demanded his relentless attention. He returned to horse racing only in the 1970s and before his death managed to collect in his stable the most successful horses that performed in France and Great Britain. He topped the list of the best breeders in France three times, and his horses were in demand and confidently won many races.
At the time of Stavros Niarchos' death in 1996, his fortune was estimated at $ 12 billion. At the same time, he bequeathed 20 percent to his Foundation, and divided the rest between four children born in a marriage with Eugenia Livanos. Helena, who was born in a marriage with Charlotte Ford, he left nothing.
The rival of Stavros Niarchos, Aristotle Onassis, was able to reach incredible heights in business and was able to make money almost out of thin air, constantly increasing his own fortune. But in the life of the billionaire there was another fiery passion - women. True, he also used them to increase welfare or his weight in society. There were many women in the life of Aristotle Onassis, but not all left a mark on his fate.