Marilyn Davies was born in Wales on 21 October 1944 and moved to Solihull, Warwickshire, as a child.
Always appearing older than her age, she went to London at the age of 16 to model at the Earls Court Motor Show and then worked as a dancer at a cabaret club in Soho. It was here that she met Christine Keeler, who introduced her to well-connected osteopath Stephen Ward and an ex-lover, the slum landlord Perec (“Peter”) Rachman.
Rice-Davies became Rachman’s mistress and was set up in a house by him in Marylebone.
She subsequently became a key figure in the “Profumo Affair“, a sex and politics scandal that rocked Cold War Britain.
Giving evidence at the trial of Stephen Ward on morals charges, she was told that aristocrat Lord (William) Astor had denied her allegation that he had slept with her. “He would, wouldn’t he?” she replied from the witness box – the phrase became famous (it’s in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations), and her sparky spirit endeared her to the public.
Rice-Davies, only 18-years-old at the time of the Profumo affair, was the only one to survive the scandal to rise to success. She worked as a singer, an actress in theatre and film, owned and ran discotheques and restaurants, and married three times – to an Israeli, then to a French restaurateur, and then to a rich British businessman.
In the 1989 feature film Scandal, she was portrayed by Bridget Fonda.
Mandy Rice-Davies died from cancer on 18 December 2014 in London, aged 70.