- Robert H. Cowden
Callas, Maria (02 December 1923–16 September 1977), legendary operatic singing actress, was born Cecilia Sophia Anna Kalogeropoulos in New York City, the daughter of Georges Kalogeropoulos, a pharmacist, and Elmina Evangelia Dimitroadis. The family had arrived in the United States from Greece a few months earlier. The family surname was legally changed to Callas in 1926 shortly before Maria was christened in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manhattan. In 1927 Georges opened his own pharmacy. After her father lost this business in 1929 during the stock market crash, the family moved to Washington Heights, where Callas attended public school. Her parents’ marriage was not a happy one, and, when it became evident that Callas had unusual vocal potential, her mother decided to seek a new life apart from her husband. Evangelia and Georges mutually agreed to separate. Obsessed with turning at least one of her daughters into a famous artist, she made plans to return to her own family. Shortly after Callas graduated from the eighth grade in January 1937, she returned to Greece with her mother....