Profumo is the son of former British government minister John Profumo and actress Valerie Hobson. The Profumo family is of Italian origin. David Profumo would have succeeded his father as 6th Baron Profumo in the nobility of the Kingdom of Sardinia, if the nobility of Italy had not been legally abolished after WW2. In any case, like his father, he does not use his Italian title.
Profumo was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford. He was Assistant Master of English at Eton College in 1978 and at the Royal School, Shrewsbury, from 1978 to 1979. He then became part-time lecturer of English at King's College London, from 1981 to 1983 and Deputy Editor of Fiction Magazine from 1982 to 1984. He was a columnist for the Daily Telegraph from 1987 to 1995.
Profumo married Helen Fraser, daughter of Alasdair Fraser, on 22 March 1979 at St. Marylebone Church, Marylebone, London. His son and heir is Alexander James Profumo.
- Sea Music London, Secker and Warburg, 1988.
- The Weather in Iceland London, Picador, 1993.
Uncollected Short Stories:
- "The Blind Man Eats Many Flies" in Foreign Exchange, edited by Julian Evans. London, Sphere, 1985.
- In Praise of Trout. London, Viking, 1989.
- The Magic Wheel: An Anthology of Fishing Literature . Editor, with Graham Swift, London, Picador, 1985
- Bringing the House Down: A Family Memoir, 2006
David Profumo Biography - James, Fishing, London, Sea, Island, and Novel 
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- Adams, Tim (24 September 2006). "There were four of them in this marriage". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
- Grice, Elizabeth (September 2, 2006). "Son breaks family's 40-year silence on scandal of the Profumo Affair". The Telegraph (London).