Mandy Rice-Davies, a British model and showgirl who found herself caught up in a political sex scandal in the ’60s, has died. She was 70 years old.
Rice-Davies reportedly succumbed to cancer, though no details are available at this time. As a teenager, she became entangled in the news of the decade when her friend Christine Keeler allegedly had an affair with War Secretary John Profumo, and the scandal eventually went to trial. Rice-Davies reportedly had an affair of her own with Lord Astor, a well-known aristocrat, and the resulting rumors and accusations led to pimping accusations against Stephen Ward, who had introduced Keeler and Profumo. The story was later made into a television movie starring Bridget Fonda and Ian McKellen.
“If I could live my life over, I would wish 1963 had not existed. The only reason I still want to talk about it is that I have to fight the misconception that I was a prostitute. I don’t want that to be passed on to my grandchildren. There is still a stigma,” Rice-Davies said.
Although she later went on to a successful showgirl career and made several television appearances, Rice-Davies rarely revisited that part of her life until Andrew Lloyd Webber asked for her input for his 2013 musical Stephen Ward, which told the story of the friends whose decisions nearly toppled the government.
“I will always remember discussing with her over dinner subjects as varied as Thomas Cromwell’s dissolution of the monasteries and the influence of the artist Stanley Spencer on Lucian Freud,” Lloyd Webber said at the news of Rice-Davies’ death.