Mandy Rice-Davies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mandy Rice-Davies
Born (1944-10-21) 21 October 1944 (age 70)
Nationality British
Known for Profumo Affair
Spouse(s) Rafael Shaul (1966-71)
Charles LeFevre (1978-1978)
Ken Foreman (1988- )[1]

Marilyn "Mandy" Rice-Davies (born 21 October 1944) is a British former model and showgirl best known for her association with Christine Keeler and her role in the Profumo affair, which discredited the Conservative government of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1963.

Early life and role in Profumo scandal[edit]

She was born Marilyn Rice-Davies in Pontyates near Llanelli, Wales, and moved to Shirley in Solihull, England, where her father was a policeman and her mother was a former actress. As a teenager, she appeared older than her age and at 15 got a job as a clothes model at Marshall & Snelgrove, a department store in Birmingham. At 16 she went to London and appeared as 'Miss Austin' at the Earls Court Motor Show.[2]

She then got a job as a dancer at Murray's Cabaret Club in Soho where she met Christine Keeler who introduced her to her friend, the well-connected osteopath Stephen Ward, and to an ex-lover, the slum landlord Peter Rachman.[3] Rice-Davies became Rachman's mistress and was set up in the same house where he had previously kept Keeler, 1 Bryanston Mews West, Marylebone.

Rice-Davies often visited Keeler at the house she shared with Ward at Wimpole Mews, Marylebone, and, after Keeler had moved elsewhere, lived there herself, between September and December 1962. On 14 December 1962 while Keeler was visiting Rice-Davies at Wimpole Mews, one of Keeler's boyfriends, John Edgecombe, attempted to enter and fired several times at the door with a gun.[4] His trial brought attention to the girls' involvement with Ward's social set, and intimacy with many powerful people, including the then Viscount Astor at whose stately home of Cliveden Keeler met the War Minister John Profumo. Profumo's brief relationship with Keeler was at the centre of the affair that caused him to resign from the government in June 1963, though Rice-Davies herself never met him.[5]

"He would, wouldn't he?"[edit]

While giving evidence at the trial of Stephen Ward, charged with living off the immoral earnings of Keeler and Rice-Davies, the latter made a famous riposte. When the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her, she replied, "He would, wouldn't he?" (often misquoted as "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" or "Well he would say that, wouldn't he?").[6] By 1979, this phrase had entered the third edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and is occasionally abbreviated as MRDA ("Mandy Rice-Davies applies") or referred to as the "Mandy Rice-Davies clause". Doubts have been expressed about the veracity of the quote, and no court transcript exists; nor were the words included in records kept by lawyers ar the trial. But in her memoirs Miss Rice-Davies insists the essence of the quote is accurate and contemporary newspaper reports support her account as has at least one more recent newspaper review.[7]

Later celebrity[edit]

Mandy Rice-Davies traded on the notoriety the trial brought her, comparing herself to Nelson's mistress, Lady Hamilton.[8] She converted to Judaism[9] and married an Israeli businessman, Rafi Shauli, opening nightclubs and restaurants in Tel Aviv. They were called Mandy's, Mandy's Candies and Mandy's Singing Bamboo. Rice-Davies made a series of unsuccessful pop singles for the Ember label in the mid-1960s, including "Close Your Eyes" and "You Got What It Takes".

A famous Private Eye cover at the time of Profumo had a photograph of "the lovely" Rice-Davies with the caption (without any headline or other identification), "Do you mind? If it wasn't for me – you couldn't have cared less about Rachman".[10]

In 1980, with Shirley Flack, Rice-Davies wrote her autobiography, Mandy. In 1989, she wrote a novel titled The Scarlet Thread. Subsequently, journalist Libby Purves, who had met Rice-Davies when Mandy was published, invited her to join a female recreation on the River Thames of Jerome K. Jerome's comic novel Three Men in a Boat. This expedition was commissioned by Alan Coren for the magazine Punch, the other members of the party being cartoonist Merrily Harpur and a toy Alsatian to represent Montmorency, the dog in the original story. Purves recounted how she "immediately spotted that this Rice-Davies was a woman to go up the Amazon with" and, among other things, that "only Mandy's foxy charm saved us from being evicted from a lock for being drunk on pink Champagne."[11]

In the 1989 film Scandal about the Profumo affair, Bridget Fonda portrayed Rice-Davies, alongside Joanne Whalley as Christine Keeler. Rice-Davies has appeared in a number of television and film productions[12] including Absolutely Fabulous and episode 6 of the first series of Chance in a Million.

Rice-Davies was closely involved in the development of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Stephen Ward the Musical about society osteopath Stephen Ward's involvement in the Profumo Affair of 1963, in which she is portrayed by Charlotte Blackledge. The musical officially opened on 19 December 2013 at the Aldwych Theatre.

On Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in February 2014 Rice-Davies said, referring to Stephen Ward, "I didn't fall for him, but I did have an affair with him."

She once described her life as "one slow descent into respectability".[citation needed]

"I want Mandi"[edit]

At the height of the Profumo scandal, the first prime minister of independent Malaya (now Malaysia) Tunku Abdul Rahman arrived in London for a visit. At a reception at Heathrow Airport when asked what he wanted to do first, he replied "I want Mandi" which shocked the reception party because they did not know that "Mandi" means "take a bath" in Malay.[13]


  1. ^ Glennie, Alasdair (October 4, 2013). "The VERY different fortunes...". Daily Mail. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ Shirley Green (1979) Rachman. London, Michael Joseph: 157
  3. ^ Shirley Green (1979) Rachman. London, Michael Joseph: 159-9
  4. ^ Ludovic Kennedy (1964) The Trial of Stephen Ward: 10
  5. ^ David Profumo (2006) Bringing the House Down
  6. ^ This has become a popular phrase among politicians in Britain. Examples of this phrase:
  7. ^ Why that cheeky Mandy Rice-Davies quote needs no correction The Guardian 27 January 2013
  8. ^ The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations (J. M. & M. J. Cohen, 1971) 190:69
  9. ^ Rice-Davies, Mandy (13 July 2008). "Relative Values: Mandy Rice-Davies and her daughter, Dana". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  10. ^ Private Eye, 26 July 1963; The Life and Times of Private Eye (ed. Richard Ingrams, 1971), page 85. A reference to "the lovely Mandy Rice-Davies" in the 1971 Life and Times compilation echoed the late 1960s catchphrase of "the lovely Aimi Macdonald" on TV's At Last the 1948 Show.
  11. ^ Libby Purves in Country Life, 17 November 2010
  12. ^ Mandy Rice-Davies at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ Jennifer Gomez, All Tunku wanted was ‘to mandi’, not Mandy, the New Straits Times online, 17 September 2007

External links[edit]