Maria Callas bore child by Onassis

2000-09-10 19:15

Los Angeles - Opera legend Maria Callas bore the love child of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1960, but the baby boy died of natural causes within hours, Vanity Fair magazine reported in its October issue.

The magazine, in printing excerpts from a new biography of the enigmatic diva by Nicholas Gage, reports that Callas spoke of her loss to few people, instead telling most friends that Onassis had forced her to have an abortion six years later.

The story of Callas' supposed abortion has been repeated in biographies of the opera star, who was born in New York to Greek emigrant parents, and in the stage play Master Class by Terrence McNally, but Gage insists that his three years of research prove it false.

Gage offers as evidence of the 1960 birth official documents found with Callas' private papers after her death, a blurry photograph of what appears to be a dead baby and interviews with three people who he said knew the truth.

He reported that the baby was delivered by Caesarean section and lived for about two hours before he stopped breathing and was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Callas named him Omero Lengrini, Gage reports - adding that the surname has never been explained - and buried him in a Milan cemetery.

"Madame never had an abortion in 1966, 1967 or any other time," Callas' loyal servant Bruna Lupoli said. "She never got pregnant except that one time when the baby was delivered in the eighth month and lived for one day. She had a scar in the lower section of the middle of her stomach because the baby was delivered by Caesarean."

Gage said that the Caesarean scar was confirmed to him by a physical therapist who worked for Onassis.

Lupoli told Gage that the death of her son haunted Callas until her own death in 1977, who would make special trips from Paris to Milan to visit his grave.

In 1968, Onassis married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy, widow of assassinated US president John F. Kennedy. Onassis died in March 1975.