I was both shocked and saddened to learn of the death at age 70 of Mandy Rice-Davies.
I lied, I was actually neither shocked nor saddened due to the fact I did not actually know Ms. Rice-Davies in any personal sense. But she was a character of history and her demise is worthy of note. At least to me it is.
But I think, from what I have read about her, I actually would have liked her and not just for the blatantly obvious reasons that she was very pretty and very easy about sharing her charms with admirers. Admirers with means, that is.
Her later years, from what I read, were basically fun, funny and colorful but nothing to match that heady year of 1963 when she and her cohort ‘of the evening’, Christine Keeler appeared as notable witnesses in a trial that ultimately toppled the government of Harold Macmillan and destroyed the career of shining-light War Minister John Profumo.
It was basically to do with the two girls ‘spreading it around’ with both Profumo, a Soviet envoy, Lord Astor and a few other notables, all allegedly pimped by London society osteopath Stephen Ward. Seamy stuff but some great poolside parties, it seems.
Many struck many eyes at the time, mainly because she was as cute as two buttons, was very young (19) and more attractive than Ms. Keeler. Into the mix came the lovely Mandy wit. She was the person who testifying at the trial of Ward (who ultimately committed suicide), responded to the assertions of Lord Astor who maintained he did not know her and had never had a liaison with her. When told this by Astor’s lawyer, Mandy responded (famously): “He would, wouldn’t he?”
She was also the one about whom late Vancouver columnist Jack Wasserman paraphrased Ogden Nash by stating: “Christine is keen, but Mandy is dandy.”
As time went by Mandy slipped to a degree into obscurity. She evidently led a pretty good life and her obvious intelligence served her well in a number of showbizzy realms such as club ownership and the like. She also worked closely with Andrew Lloyd-Webber on a West End musical based on the whole scandal.
Of her later life, Mandy described it as “a slow descent into respectability.”