updated: 30/03/2005

bad girl look-alikes: the Profumo Affair

The Profumo Affair was a political scandal of 1963 in the United Kingdom. It is named after the then-Secretary of State for War John Profumo; he was discovered to had an affair with Christine Keeler, who was also having a relationship with a Russian intelligence officer. As with many political scandals it was the attempted cover-up that did for his career and he was resign when he was forced to admit he had lied to Parliament about his relationship. Christine Keeler (born 1942) was an ‘model’ and showgirl, and was imprisoned for nine months for perjury in a related trial; she has since written a number of books on the affair. Mandy Rice-Davies (1944) played a her minor role in the affair but sprung to fame for responding ‘Well, he would, wouldn’t he?’ when challenged in court that Lord Astor denied having an affair with her. Afterwards, she traded on the notoriety the trial brought her, married an Israeli businessman, and went on to open a string of successful nightclubs and restaurants in Tel Aviv. John Profumo (1915–2006) devoted most of the rest of his life to supporting Toynbee Hall, a London charity, using his political skills and contacts to raise large sums of money for which he was awarded a CBE; he had married the actress Valerie Hobson in 1954 and they remained together despite the scandal.

Strangly despite the juiciness of the scandal and the consequences for the government, the affair has been the subject of only one movie: Scandal featured Joanne Whalley as Christine Keeler and Bridget Fonda as Mandy Rice-Davies.

Pat Hay was chief makeup artist; Joan Hills was makeup artist; Meinir Jones-Lewis was chief hair stylist.