Did Callas Give Birth to a Son by Onassis?
by Dr. Richard Copeman
Soon after the sudden death of Callas in 1977, rumours of a pregnancy by her lover Onassis emerged, but of a forced abortion rather than a birth. Those close to her could not believe that she would have done this, as she desperately wanted a child. She had investigations for infertility while married to Meneghini and was told she could not fall pregnant. Apparently her husband was not investigated for infertility, despite his age and never having fathered a child.
After the fateful cruise with Onassis in 1959, and the consummation of their passion on 7th August her marriage was over. In 2000 the book “Greek Fire” by N Gage made the sensational claim that the resulting pregnancy ended in the birth of a son on 30th March 1960, by caesarean section at Clinica Dezza. Assuming the earliest date for conception on 7th August, the gestation would be 36 weeks, 1 month premature. In fact the baby died a few hours later, considerably more premature, judging by the only photograph of the dead boy taken by maid/companion Bruna. I would estimate it to be at least 3 months premature, and hence unviable even in the best facility of that time. Speaking as a physician with experience of Obstetrics, I cannot believe that a reputable surgeon would operate unless certain of the dates. There were no scans then, but an x-ray would have shown the maturity of the baby. To operate at that stage would be certain death for the infant, and a probable crime. For this reason, and the fact that she was still seen in public in early February 1960, without signs of pregnancy made me very suspicious of this scenario.
The fascinating memoirs of Ferruccio Mezzadri, Maria’s faithful driver and handyman, “Fate made me meet Maria Callas”, came out in 2018. It is in Italian, but is easy to read. I noticed, especially on page 55, a touching photo of Maria with a tiny baby belonging to a friend, and his comment that she was possibly thinking of the loss of her son Omero. This is the first time that confirmation of the birth of her son has been given by someone so close to her. On page 38, it is stated that on 30th March 1960, in her house in Milan (…in casa Callas…) Omero was born. The child died after a few hours, of respiratory failure, and was buried in Bresso cemetery. These facts are confirmed in documents filed in Milan, but no parents are named, presumably to avoid scandal.
This revelation changes everything, and gives a plausible reason for a premature birth. It was presumably a spontaneous onset of premature labour, resulting in a rapid unplanned birth at home. She may then have been taken to the clinic where the baby died a few hours later. Such events are not so rare…. a similar problem occurred with Sophia Loren’s child. It also explains why a number of people claimed there was no operation scar, and why there were no apparent signs of pregnancy when she was seen in public on 5th February. I have a photo of her sitting next to La Scala manager Ghiringhelli at the Capitol theatre for “La Dolce Vita”. Perhaps she was only 4 or 5 months pregnant then, hence the signs could be disguised. That would mean on 30th March she would have been around 28 weeks pregnant; and the baby would be mature enough to survive for only a few hours.