Piero Tosi & Maria Callas, Milano 1955

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Piero Tosi & Maria Callas behind the scenes of La Sonnambula directed by Luchino Visconti in the Teatro alla Scala, 1955 (Erio Piccagliani)

Piero Tosi & Maria Callas behind the scenes of La Sonnambula directed by Luchino Visconti in the Teatro alla Scala, Milano 1955 (Erio Piccagliani)

Piero Tosi
(1927- ) is an Italian costume designer, born in Florence, Italy. In the late 1940s, he studied at Florence’s Accademia di Belle Arti, under the guidance of painter Ottone Rosai. At the age of 20, Tosi landed his first professional job as costume assistant on a stage production of the classic Le chandelier. Soon after, Tosi met renowned stage and film director Luchino Visconti through school friend Franco Zeffirelli and worked as a costume assistant on Visconti’s 1949 Florentine production of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. In 1951, Tosi moved to Rome, where he began his film career, scouring the streets to find clothes for star Anna Magnani to wear in Visconti’s neorealistic tale “Bellissima” (1952), the first of 12 films he made with the director. His second picture with Visconti, 1954’s “Senso”, marked Tosi’s period film debut and introduced audiences to his lush, sensual designs. “I believe,” he once stated, “that an actor’s costume has to mirror the character wearing it, and also life.” Tosi’s screen career took off in the 1960s with a string of critically acclaimed films, including Visconti’s “Rocco and his Brothers” (1960), “The Leopard” (1963) – for which he received his first Oscar nomination – and “The Damned” (1969); Vittorio De Sica’s comedy “Marriage Italian Style” (1964); the Peter Sellers farce “After the Fox” (1966); and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Medea” (1969), for which he designed ancient Greek apparel for diva Maria Callas.
In all of his designs, Tosi explored the “architecture of the body,” noting that “every eight years the human body changes completely.” Obsessed with the human form, Tosi worked to mold actor to costume as much as costume to actor. Sometimes, Tosi also designed the actor’s hair and makeup, striving for a complete and authentic look. For Visconti’s “Death in Venice” (1971), Tosi created almost 700 period costumes, representing a range of ages and types, and received his second Oscar nod for his efforts. Three more Oscar nominations followed: for the Visconti production “Ludwig” (1973), for the flashy, modern comedy “La Cage aux Follies” (1979, shared with Ambra Danon) and for Zeffirelli’s opera adaptation “La Traviata” (1982).
Tosi continued to design into the 2000s, and in 2003 received the Costume Designers Guild’s inaugural President’s Award. Today, he spends his time teaching his craft at Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, happily sharing his remarkable visual memory, his passion for authentic detail and his special language of design with tomorrow’s young filmmakers. An Honorary Academy Award was given to Piero Tosi on November 16, 2013  after a career of fifty years as a costume designer, and with five Best Costume design nominations.

From "Maria Callas & Swarovski: Jewels on Stage" exhibition

From “Maria Callas & Swarovski: Jewels on Stage” exhibition

Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo (1906–1976), was an Italian theatre, opera and cinema director, as well as a screenwriter. He is best known for his films The Leopard (1963) and Death in Venice (1971). During the years 1946 to 1960 he directed many celebrated productions of operas. Beginning when he directed a production at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala of “La vestale” in December 1954, his career included a famous revival of “La traviata” at La Scala in 1955 with Maria Callas and an equally famous Anna Bolena (also at La Scala) in 1957 with Callas.
Visconti’s direction of Bellini’s opera, “La Sonambula”, in 1955, was an early incarnation of what is now called a “concept” approach. The director insisted Maria Callas wear a dazzling white gown and her jewelry onstage, whilst playing a poor peasant girl. When Callas questioned this choice, Visconti famously responded:

“The audience is not paying to see a poor peasant girl. They are paying to see Maria Callas play a poor peasant girl.”

A significant 1958 Royal Opera House (London) production of Verdi’s five-act Italian version of “Don Carlos” (with Jon Vickers) followed, along with a “Macbeth” in Spoleto in 1958 and a famous black-and-white “Il trovatore” with scenery and costumes by Filippo Sanjust at the Royal Opera House in 1964. In 1966 Visconti’s luscious “Falstaff” for the Vienna State Opera conducted by Leonard Bernstein was critically acclaimed. On the other hand, his austere 1969 “Simon Boccanegra” with the singers clothed in geometrical costumes provoked controversy.
La sonnambula (The Sleepwalker) is an opera semiseria in two acts, with music in the bel canto tradition by Vincenzo Bellini set to an Italian libretto by Felice Romani, based on a scenario for a ballet-pantomime written by Eugene Scribe and choreographed by Jean-Pierre Aumer called “La somnambule, ou L’arrivee d’un nouveau seigneur”. The first performance took place at the Teatro Carcano (it) in Milan on 6 March 1831.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Biography – Piero Tosi
Wikipedia: Piero Tosi
IMDb: Piero Tosi
Wikipedia: Luchino Visconti
Wikipedia: La sonnambula
More to read:
Silver Screen Modes: Who is Piero Tosi?
Opera Chic: Maria Callas’ Bling at the NYC MET

For more, see my other postS:
Part One – Maria Callas on the beach, 1956
PART TWO – Aristotle Onassis & Maria Callas, London 1959

Aristotle Onassis & Maria Callas, London 1959

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Aristotle Onassis & Maria Callas at a party at

Aristotle Onassis & Maria Callas at a party at “The Dorchester”, London 1959 (Photo: Desmond O’Neill)

Aristotle Onassis (Aristotelis Onasis; 1906 – 1975) was a Greek shipping magnate and businessman. Onassis amassed the world’s largest privately owned shipping fleet and was one of the world’s richest and most famous men. He was known for his business success, his great wealth and also his personal life.
Onassis was born in Smyrna and fled the city with his family to Greece in the wake of the Greco-Turkish War in 1922. Onassis moved to Argentina in 1923 and he got a job as a telephone engineer. Poor but clever, he eavesdropped on business calls and used the information to set up deals of his own. Onassis was soon making loads of money and buying beautiful clothes. His ability to reinvent himself as an “important businessman” during the day, yet continuing to work the phone lines in coveralls at night, was an early indication of his shrewd social and business skills.
Onassis’ first big idea came in the mid-1920s, when he overheard a phone call about a new “talkie” that would have its main character smoke a cigarette. Onassis got the idea to start his own brand of cigarettes. He chose a famous opera singer as the perfect model. To get her to smoke his brand in public, he showed up at her dressing room with a giant bouquet of flowers. Amazingly, Onassis seduced her. She, of course, smoked his brand of cigarettes.

Aristoteles Onassis in1932

Aristoteles Onassis in 1932

By the age of 25, his tobacco business made him a millionaire. Building on his wealth, he realized that the shipping magnates who hauled the tobacco made more than the cigarette manufacturer. This realization came to him at the height of the Great Depression. Just when everyone was getting out of the shipping business, Onassis was able to buy six ships for less than half of what they would normally be worth.
At the outbreak of World War II, Onassis leased his cargo ships to the Allies. His wealth grew enormously, and so did his social standing. He began dating a string of famous women. Within a few years, he met the daughter of the richest shipping magnate in the world, Athina Livanos, a woman almost half his age. They married and had two children.
Moving to Monaco, Onassis rivaled Prince Rainer III for economic control of the country through his ownership of SBM and in the mid 1950s sought to secure an oil shipping arrangement with Saudi Arabia and engaged in whaling expeditions.

“If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning” – Aristotle Onassis

In 1957 Onassis met Maria Callas during a party in Venice promoted by Elsa Maxwell. They embarked on an affair despite the fact they were both married. After this first encounter, Onassis commented to Spyros Skouras: “There [was] just a natural curiosity; after all, we were the most famous Greeks alive in the world.” The affair received much publicity in the popular press, and in November 1959, Callas left her husband. The relationship ended in 1968, when Onassis left Callas in favor of Jacqueline Kennedy. The two married on Onassis’ privately owned island. However, the Onassis family’s private secretary, Kiki, writes in her memoir that even while Aristotle was with Jackie, he frequently met up with Maria in Paris, where they resumed what had now become a clandestine affair.
In 1973, Onassis’s 24 year old son, Alexander, died in a terrible plane crash. He was greatly affected by the death and two years later, on March 15, 1975, Aristotle Onassis died. It was said that Maria Callas, his true love, never recovered from his death. She died two and a half years later.
Wikipedia: Aristotle Onassis
Biography.com: Aristotle OnassisWikipedia: Maria Callas
More to read:
HEC: The Life of Aristotle Onassis – The Man, the Myth, the Legend

“Αν δεν υπήρχαν οι γυναίκες, όλα τα λεφτά του κόσμου δεν θα είχαν καμία απολύτως σημασία” Αριστοτέλης Ωνάσης

Στα Ελληνικά:
Σαν Σήμερα: Βιογραφία Αριστοτέλη Ωνάση

For more, see my other postS:
Part One – Maria Callas on the beach, 1956
PART THREE – piero tosi & Maria Callas, Milano 1955

Jim Londos, 1939

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Jim Londos, World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, 1939

Jim Londos, World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, 1939

Jim Londos, “The Golden Greek” (1897 – 1975) was born Christos Theofilou in Argos, Greece. He was a Greek professional wrestler and one of the most popular stars who performed on the professional wrestling circuit during the Great Depression.
At age thirteen he ran away from home and eventually ended up emigrating to the United States. Working whenever he could, Theofilou took several odd jobs including cabin boy, construction jobs and posing nude for figure drawing classes. Theofilou landed a job as a catcher in a carnival acrobatic act. It was during this period that he was exposed to professional wrestling and began training.
Londos’ first matches would be as “The Wrestling Plasterer” Christopher Theophelus, a gimmick that saw him coming to the ring in overalls. After a number of years he dropped this in favour of wrestling under the name Jim Londos and being a no nonsense wrestler. At 5’8 and 200 pounds, Londos was often smaller than his opponent. However, his low center of gravity, his formidable strength, and powerful legs made up for any lack of height. Jim Londos became known for his strong work ethic, as he worked as many dates as he could, often wrestling nearly every night of the week.
Capitalizing on his handsome features and strong physique, Londos developed a practice of matching himself against the ugliest opponents he could find. Then fans responded to the booking scheme exactly as “The Golden Greek” planned…by backing Londos even more. This “Beauty vs. the Beast” idea served Londos well, and helped build himself into the most popular wrestler/biggest draw on the East Coast throughout the 1930’s and early 1940’s.
During Londos’ era, there were several versions of the “World Title” that all carried much prestige in the territories they were defended in. Londos, one of the premier wrestlers in the business at the time, won several of them. In 1937, Londos defeated the famous Bronco Nagurski in Philadelphia the World Title as recognized by eastern promoters, and held that version of the World championship for the next 12 years, retiring as champion. Truly, Londos was one of the best of his day, and an all-time legend… But there was always one man who Londos and the promoters (as well as many fans) knew Londos could never beat — at least not without that man’s cooperation. Perennial World Champion Ed “Strangler” Lewis wrestling skill was such that virtually no one could beat him in a legitimate encounter – he was just that much better than his competition. The two engaged in several legitimate and “worked” matches, with Lewis allowing Londos to win only when he and his Chicago promoters felt it helped business. Londos reputation kept intact and continued to draw record crowds across the world. He competed in many  countries during his 15+ year long career. He once drew a crowd of nearly 100,000 in his native country of Greece, and became a national hero overseas as well as in America.
Londos retired in 1946 as one of the greatest champions in history. He engaged in, by his own estimate, over 2,500 matches and lost only a few. He spent much of his retirement working for charitable organizations, particularly for Greek World War II orphans.
Londos died of a heart attack August 19, 1975 in Escondido, California.
Wikipedia: Jim Londos
Professional Wrestling Online Museum
Wikipedia: List of early world heavyweight champions in professional wrestling

c1939feb23O Τζιμ Λόντος (Χρήστος Θεοφίλου, 1897-1975) ήταν Παγκόσμιος Πρωταθλητής Επαγγελματικής Πάλης (κατς).
Δεκατεσσάρων χρονών έφυγε από το Κουτσοπόδι του Άργους για την Αμερική. Αρχικά εργάστηκε σε διάφορες δουλειές για βιοπορισμό, όπως αχθοφόρος, καμαρότος, μοντέλο για ζωγράφους και φωτογράφους κ.ά. Μεταπήδησε στην επαγγελματική πάλη, αφού πρώτα εργάστηκε “κάτσερ” σε ακροβατικά στο τσίρκο.
Αρχικά εμφανιζόταν ως “Κρίστοφερ Τεόφιλου, ο γυψαδόρος παλαιστής”, γιατί εμφανιζόταν με τα ρούχα της δουλειάς πριν τον αγώνα. Αργότερα καθιέρωσε το “Τζίμ Λόντος”, ένα προσωνύμιο που του δόθηκε από τον αθλητικογράφο Ρόσκο Φόσετ, έπειτα από μία νίκη του στην αρένα “Λόντον” του Πόρτλαντ.
Ήταν ευέλικτος, ταχύς αλλά και δυνατός, με άρτια τεχνική. Καθώς όμως ήταν κι όμορφος με καλοσχηματισμένο σώμα, στην αρχή της καριέρας του διάλεγε να αντιμετωπίζει άσχημους αντιπάλους, ώστε το κοινό να ταυτίζεται μαζί του και να τον υποστηρίζει. Σύντομα οι οπαδοί του άρχισαν να τον αποκαλούν “Χρυσό Έλληνα”. Έγινε επίσης γνωστός και για το λεγόμενο “αεροπλανικό κόλπο”, μια λαβή δικής του επινόησης. Αφού αρχικά προσπαθούσε να κουράσει τον αντίπαλο του, έσκυβε ξαφνικά και τον έπιανε με το ένα χέρι από τα πόδια και με το άλλο από το λαιμό. Τον σήκωνε ψηλά, τον στριφογύριζε κάμποσες φορές και στη συνέχεια τον έριχνε βαρύ στο καναβάτσο. Ήταν συνήθως η κορύφωση κάθε αγώνα του.
Υπήρξε από τους πρωτεργάτες τους είδους της πάλης που αργότερα έγινε γνωστό διεθνώς ως “κατς”. Την εποχή του οικονομικού κραχ στην Αμερική ήταν από τους λίγους που το όνομα του έφερνε κόσμο στα γήπεδα που αγωνιζόταν.
Στα 16 χρόνια της καριέρας του έδωσε περισσότερους από 2.500 αγώνες και ηττήθηκε σε λιγότερους από δέκα. Το 1938 ανακηρύχθηκε Παγκόσμιος Πρωταθλητής βαρέων βαρών, τίτλο που κράτησε μέχρι το 1946 που αποσύρθηκε. Εθιμοτυπικά του δόθηκε δια παντός η περίφημη χρυσή και αδαμαντοποίκιλτη ζώνη του πρωταθλητή.
Στο υπόλοιπο της ζωής του ασχολήθηκε με την φιλανθρωπία, κυρίως για τα ορφανά Ελληνόπουλα του Β’ παγκοσμίου πολέμου. Απεβίωσε από καρδιακή προσβολή στις 19 Αυγούστου 1975 και το μνημείο του υπάρχει στο Oak Hill Memorial Park στο Escondido της Καλιφόρνια.
Περισσότερα για διάβασμα:
Σαν Σήμερα: Τζιμ Λόντος
Αργολική Αρχειακή Βιβλιοθήκη Ιστορίας και Πολιτισμού
Μηχανή του Χρόνου

Maria Callas on the beach, Venice 1956

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Maria Callas on Venice Lido beach, Italy 1956 (Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche)

Maria Callas on Venice Lido beach, Italy 1956 (Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche)

Maria Callas
(1923 – 1977), was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century. Critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic interpretations. Her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini and further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini. Her musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.
Born in New York City and raised by an overbearing mother, she received her musical education in Greece and established her career in Italy. Forced to deal with the exigencies of wartime poverty and with myopia that left her nearly blind onstage, she endured struggles and scandal over the course of her career. She turned herself from a heavy woman into a svelte and glamorous one after a mid-career weight loss, which might have contributed to her vocal decline and the premature end of her career. The press exulted in publicizing Callas’s allegedly temperamental behavior, her supposed rivalry with Renata Tebaldi and her love affair with Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. Although her dramatic life and personal tragedy have often overshadowed Callas the artist in the popular press, her artistic achievements were such that Leonard Bernstein called her “the Bible of opera” and, in 2006, Opera News wrote of her: “Nearly thirty years after her death, she’s still the definition of the diva as artist—and still one of classical music’s best-selling vocalists.”

“It was a flawed voice. But then Callas sought to capture in her singing not just beauty but a whole humanity, and within her system, the flaws feed the feeling, the sour plangency and the strident defiance becoming aspects of the canto. They were literally defects of her voice; she bent them into advantages of her singing.”
Ethan Mordden, author


Maria Callas & Giovanni Battista Meneghini, Venice Lido beach, 1956

Callas’s Italian opera debut took place at the Verona Arena in August 1947, in a performance of La Gioconda. In 1949 she married Giovanni Battista Meneghini, an older, wealthy industrialist, who assumed control of her career until 1959. It was Meneghini’s love and support that gave Callas the time needed to establish herself in Italy. Though her voice captivated audiences, as her fame increased, Callas developed a reputation as a demanding diva.
In 1954, Callas made her American debut in Norma at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The performance was a triumph. In 1956, she had the opportunity to sing with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Within three years of the performance, Callas’s health began to rapidly decline, as did her marriage.
In 1957, while still married to Meneghini, Callas was introduced to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis at a party given in her honor. The affair that followed received much publicity in the popular press, and in November 1959, Callas left her husband.
During the 1960s, her performances grew fewer and farther between, as a result of her frequent cancellations. Michael Scott asserts that Onassis was not why Callas largely abandoned her career, but that he offered her a way out of a career that was made increasingly difficult by scandals and by vocal resources that were diminishing at an alarming rate. Franco Zeffirelli, on the other hand, recalls asking Callas in 1963 why she had not practiced her singing, and Callas responding that “I have been trying to fulfill my life as a woman.”
Though she formally retired from the stage in the early ’60s, Callas made a brief return to performing with the Metropolitan Opera from January 1964 through July 1965. Her final operatic performance was in Tosca at Covent Garden on July 5, 1965.
The relationship with Onassis ended in 1968, when he left Callas in favor of Jacqueline Kennedy.
In 1969, the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini cast Callas in her only non-operatic acting role, as the Greek mythological character of Medea. From October 1971 to March 1972, Callas gave a series of master classes in New York. She staged a series of joint recitals in Europe in 1973 and in the U.S., South Korea. Her final public performance was on November 11, 1974, in Sapporo, Japan.
Callas spent her last years living largely in isolation in Paris and died at age 53 on September 16, 1977, of a heart attack. Her ashes were scattered over the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Greece, according to her wish.

More to read:
Wikipedia: Maria Callas
Στα Ελληνικά:
Κοινο_Τοπία: Μαρία Κάλλας: Μια προσέγγιση στο μύθο της
Σαν σήμερα: Μαρία Κάλλας

Eleftherios Venizelos, Prime Minister of Greece, 1914

Restoration & Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Restoration & Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

E. Venizelos, 1914 (Agence Meurisse / Bibliotheque nationale de France)

E. Venizelos, Paris, 1914 (Agence Meurisse / Bibliotheque nationale de France)

Eleftherios Venizelos (1864 – 1936) was an eminent Greek leader of the Greek national liberation movement and a charismatic statesman of the early 20th century remembered for his promotion of liberal-democratic policies. Elected several times as Prime Minister of Greece, serving from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1932, Venizelos had such profound influence on the internal and external affairs of Greece that he is credited with being “the maker of modern Greece”, and is still widely known as the “Ethnarch”.
His first entry into the international scene was with his significant role in the autonomy of the Cretan State and later in the union of Crete with Greece. Soon, he was invited to Greece to resolve the political deadlock and became the country’s Prime Minister. Not only did he initiate constitutional and economic reforms that set the basis for the modernization of Greek society, but also reorganized both army and navy in preparation of future conflicts. Before the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, Venizelos’ catalytic role helped gain Greece entrance to the Balkan League, an alliance of the Balkan states against Ottoman Turkey. Through his diplomatic acumen, Greece doubled her area and population with the liberation of Macedonia, Epirus, and the rest of the Aegean islands.
In World War I (1914–1918), he brought Greece on the side of the Allies, further expanding the Greek borders. However, his pro-Allied foreign policy brought him in direct conflict with the monarchy, causing the National Schism. The Schism polarized the population between the royalists and Venizelists and the struggle for power between the two groups afflicted the political and social life of Greece for decades. Following the Allied victory, Venizelos secured new territorial gains, especially in Anatolia, coming close to realizing the Megali Idea. Despite his achievements, Venizelos was defeated in the 1920 General Election, which contributed to the eventual Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22). Venizelos, in self-imposed exile, represented Greece in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, and the agreement of a mutual exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey.
In his subsequent periods in office Venizelos succeeded in restoring normal relations with Greece’s neighbors and expanded his constitutional and economical reforms. In 1935 Venizelos resurfaced from retirement to support a military coup and its failure severely weakened the Second Hellenic Republic, the republic he had created.
c2321bIn December 1891 Venizelos married Maria Katelouzou. Their married life was short and marked by misfortune. Maria died of post-puerperal fever in November 1894 after the birth of their second child. Her death deeply affected Venizelos and as sign of mourning he grew his characteristic beard and mustache, which he retained for the rest of his life.
In September 1921, twenty seven years after the death of his first wife Maria, he married Helena Stephanovich-Schilizzi in London. Advised by police to be wary of assassination attempts, they held the religious ceremony in private at Witanhurst, the mansion of family friend.
On 13 of March 1936, when he was in Paris, he suffered a stroke and died five days later. His body was taken by the destroyer “Pavlos Kountouriotis” to Chania, avoiding Athens in order not to cause unrest. A great ceremony with wide public attendance accompanied his burial at Akrotiri, Crete.
Wikipedia (english),   Wikipedia (greek)
Bibliotheque nationale de France

Ο Ελευθέριος K. Βενιζέλος (Μουρνιές Χανίων, 1864 – Παρίσι, 1936) ήταν Έλληνας πολιτικός που διετέλεσε πρωθυπουργός της Κρητικής Πολιτείας και εφτά φορές πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας. Ως πολιτικός διαδραμάτισε σημαντικό ρόλο στο Κρητικό ζήτημα καθώς και στα πολιτικά δρώμενα της Ελλάδας από το 1910 μέχρι και τον θάνατό του.
Οργάνωσε την επανάσταση στο Θέρισο και το 1910 ανέλαβε την πρωθυπουργία της Κρητικής Πολιτείας, την οποία εγκατέλειψε λίγους μήνες αργότερα για να αναλάβει την πρωθυπουργία στην Ελλάδα κατόπιν προσκλήσεως του Στρατιωτικού Συνδέσμου. Από την έναρξη του Α΄ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου τάχθηκε υπέρ της Αντάντ διαφωνώντας ανοιχτά με την στάση του Βασιλιά. Λόγω αυτής της διαφωνίας, αν και είχε εκλεγεί πρωθυπουργός εκδιώχθηκε με απόφαση του Βασιλιά Κωνσταντίνου Α΄ δημιουργώντας τα γεγονότα του Εθνικού Διχασμού. Επέστρεψε στην πρωθυπουργία την περίοδο 1917 – 1920 αλλά εγκατέλειψε την Ελλάδα μετά την ήττα του στις εκλογές του Νοεμβρίου 1920. Επέστρεψε το 1924 για λίγους μήνες και το 1928 εξελέγη πρωθυπουργός. Τον Ιανουάριο του 1935 έγινε για τελευταία φορά πρωθυπουργός και τον Μάρτιο του ίδιου χρόνου μετά την απόπειρα πραξικοπήματος κατέφυγε στο Παρίσι, όπου και πέθανε.
Ως πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας επέφερε μεταρρυθμίσεις σχεδόν σε όλους τους τομείς του κράτους με κύριο σκοπό την οργάνωση της χώρας στα πρότυπα αστικού κράτους. Παράλληλα οργάνωσε αξιόμαχο στρατό, τον οποίο εκμεταλλεύθηκε στις πολεμικές συρράξεις, διπλασιάζοντας την εδαφική έκταση της Ελλάδας.
Το 1890 παντρεύτηκε την Μαρία Κατελούζου. Τέσσερα χρόνια αργότερα, η σύζυγος του πέθανε από επιλόχειο πυρετό μετά τη γέννηση του δεύτερου τους παιδιού. Σε ένδειξη πένθους άφησε τη χαρακτηριστική γενειάδα και μουστάκι για τα υπόλοιπα χρόνια της ζωής του. Το 1921 παντρεύτηκε την Έλενα Στεφάνοβιτς-Σκυλίτση, στο Λονδίνο.
Πέθανε το Μάρτιο του 1936, στο Παρίσι, μετά από εγκεφαλικό επεισόδιο. Το αντιτορπιλικό Κουντουριώτης μετέφερε τη σωρό του στα Χανιά, για να ταφεί με τιμές στο Ακρωτήρι.