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Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty Images Mandy Rice-Davies, (centre, right), and Christine Keeler, (behind), surrounded by press photographers as they leave the Old Bailey during the trial of Dr Stephen Ward, a major figure in the Profumo Affair.

Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty Images
Mandy Rice-Davies, (centre, right), and Christine Keeler, (behind), surrounded by press photographers as they leave the Old Bailey during the trial of Dr Stephen Ward, a major figure in the Profumo Affair.

 Mandy Rice-Davies, Figure in Profumo Scandal, Dies at 70

Mandy Rice-Davies, a former nightclub dancer and model who achieved notoriety in 1963 in one of Britain‘s most spectacular Cold War sex scandals, died on December 18, 2014.

Her publicist said in a statement confirming the death that Ms. Rice-Davies had endured a “short battle with cancer.” The statement did not say where she died.

In later years Ms. Rice-Davies became a businesswoman and a writer and was known by her married name, Marilyn Foreman. But Britons more widely remember her for making headlines in what was called the Profumo affair — revelations that a government minister, John Profumo, had shared a mistress, Christine Keeler, with a Soviet defense attaché, Yevgeny Ivanov.

The scandal raised questions about national security and rocked the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan. Ms. Rice-Davies shared lodgings with Ms. Keeler but never met Mr. Profumo, who died in 2006. In March 1963, Mr. Profumo went before Parliament to deny any “impropriety whatever” with Ms. Keeler. But he resigned three months later as details of the relationship emerged, forcing him to admit that he had lied to Parliament.

Details of the scandal were revealed in court hearings at the trial of Stephen Ward, an osteopath, who had introduced Mr. Profumo and Ms. Keeler at a party at the Berkshire country home of the aristocrat Lord Astor. Mr. Ward took a drug overdose just before he was found guilty on two counts of living off immoral earnings and died a few days later.

In court hearings in 1963, the public learned of what seemed to be lurid activities involving aristocrats, government officials, diplomats, spies and call girls.

As the hearings unfolded, Ms. Rice-Davies gained renown for a pithy response to being told that Lord Astor had denied he had slept with her.

“Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?” she said, according to one account. (Others quoted her as saying, “He would, wouldn’t he?” or, “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”)

The remark was seen as a sign of a new lack of deference in 1960s Britain, as the country struggled for greater prosperity and the class system that had shielded the upper crust from scrutiny came under assault from newly assertive ordinary people.

“It was an age of deference,” Ms. Rice-Davies said in a BBC interview this year. “People still doffed their caps.”

Ms. Rice-Davies stuck to her account of the relationship with Lord Astor despite subsequent denials by his family. She also insisted that her role had not been that of a prostitute, and that Mr. Ward had not been a pimp. “The only reason I still want to talk about it is that I have to fight the misconception that I was a prostitute,” she said at one point, according to the news agency The Press Association. “I don’t want that to be passed on to my grandchildren. There is still a stigma.” She also said that the era’s renown for unbridled licentiousness was exaggerated. “In those days, there were good girls and there were bad girls,” she told The Associated Press last year. “Good girls didn’t have any sex at all, and bad girls had a bit.”

“My biggest fear was living a drab, boring life,” she wrote in an article this year in the newspaper The Mail on Sunday. “Well, I certainly didn’t end up doing that.”

As a dancer at Murray’s Cabaret Club, she added, “I met a showgirl called Christine Keeler. It was dislike at first sight.” As the scandal ebbed, she wrote, “I was offered a job singing at a club in Germany, and I accepted with alacrity even though the only place I’d ever sung before was in the church choir.”

Ms. Rice-Davies performed in cabarets in Germany and Spain and later spent time in Israel, where, with her first husband, Rafael Shaul, an Israeli, she founded a string of nightclubs and restaurants in her name. After a divorce and a brief second marriage, she returned to Britain in 1980, embarking on a career as an actor and writer. In 1988 she married Ken Foreman, a British businessman, who survives her. They had homes in Britain, Florida and the Caribbean. “My life has been one long descent into respectability,” she was widely reported as saying.

Besides her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Dana.

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