On This Day — Profumo Affair Christine Keeler Has Died (December 4 2017)

“However I dress it up, I was a spy and I am not proud of it.”

Christine Keeler

Lewis Morley’s 1963 portrait of Christine Keeler became an iconic image of the cold war. This picture is one of the most famous and most imitated photographs ever published. Joanne Whalley-Kilmer recreated the pose for the theatrical release poster.

December 4 2021 — On December 4 2017, Christine Keeler, the model embroiled in the 1963 Profumo affair, died aged 75. The Profumo affair was a very British scandal which uncovered a secret world of sex, horse-play, drinking orgies and spying, in high places, in which Ms Keeler shared her favours with Mr Profumo, and Commander Eugene Ivanov, the Soviet assistant naval attaché in London. The crisis forced John Profumo to quit his job as war secretary and ultimately contributed to the downfall of the Tory government the following year. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“Sorry about the mess, I’m guilty ’til proved innocent
In the public eye and press”

Nothing Has Been Proved — Dusty Springfield

UPDATE (December 4 2021) — The son of Christine Keeler believes the time is right to launch a legal bid to get her a posthumous pardon for the perjury conviction.

“Maybe we’re finally ready to talk about this fairly. Because what happened to her was really, really unfair,” Seymour Platt said in an interview earlier this year.

“She should never have gone to prison. She shouldn’t have been in court for perjury in the first place. What it all comes down to is they wanted to punish Christine Keeler.”

“You have to remember she was only 20 or 21 at the time,” says Platt. “By the time of the perjury trial she was absolutely exhausted. She felt she had been wronged, but she just didn’t want to go to court anymore. So she pleaded guilty.”

Solicitor James Harbridge from Mr Platt’s legal team believes that “the case is extremely strong.”

“Whilst Christine’s lie was non-material to Gordon’s attack, it is notable that, despite actually lying explicitly and materially to Parliament, the late Mr Profumo’s character was restored. It seems only fair and just that Christine’s is, too.”

Scandal is a 1989 British drama film, a fictionalised account of the Profumo affair that rocked the government of British prime minister Harold Macmillan.

Seymour Platt recalls his disappointment going with his mum to the set of Scandal, the 1989 Miramax-produced movie starring John Hurt as Stephen Ward.

“The film was pretty salacious. I remember when we went to the set I was told by one of the actresses that the producer had been wanting the girls to get their clothes off [on camera]. He wanted it to be like a soft porn film. That producer was Harvey Weinstein.”

“So the whole thing has always been looked at with a certain amount of salaciousness. Profumo was able to re-establish his reputation over time. But with Christine, it wasn’t really possible to do that. It’s time to forgive her in the way we do Profumo.”

The controversial nature of the story, as well as its sexual content, appealed to Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s independent film company, Miramax. The Weinsteins agreed to pay $2.35 million for the North American distribution rights.

The Weinstein brothers encouraged Stephen Woolley and Nik Powell to deliver an X rated movie, and in particular to include nude shots of Whalley-Kilmer.

The film was awarded an X rating for its orgy scene, but after two appeals and three seconds of edits, it was released with an “R” rating. [Wikipedia]

The soundtrack included a specially written song by the Pet Shop Boys — “Nothing Has Been Proved” –for Dusty Springfield.

END of UPDATE

“The Profumo affair, ultimately, was a national crisis from whose aftershocks we are all still suffering.”

The Guardian (June 2013)

In 1963, at the height of the Cold War, Christine Keeler — then a teenager — had an affair with Conservative cabinet minister John Profumo.

At the same time, she also was in a relationship with a Russian diplomat — Eugene Ivanov, an assistant naval attaché at the Soviet Embassy.

Not surprisingly, opposition MPs voiced concerns about national security implications.

At first, Mr Profumo told the House of Commons that he and Ms Keeler were “on friendly terms” and there was “no impropriety” in their relationship.

But eventually Mr Profumo admitted lying to the house and resigned as Secretary of State for War and from the Commons.

“The ghost-written book got me right, it has got me emotionally right. There’s one word I don’t like: ‘Ruining my life may not seem very important to some, considering what I was, just a pretty scrubber…’ I wanted them to change it to ‘tart.’ ‘Scrubber’ implies someone who can’t talk properly and wears horrible clothes, but I always spoke well and had good clothes. I’ve always had a bit of class to me. I’m sure Jack Profumo wouldn’t have gone out with a scrubber. Perhaps they should have written ‘just a pretty nobody.’”

Christine Keeler — Interview by Simon Hoggart about her second autobiography (The Observer – March 13, 1983)

About the “Profumo Affair”

“The resignation on 5 June 1963 of John Profumo as minister of war in Harold Macmillan’s Conservative government was a great event in postwar British history.

It decisively influenced the 1964 general election – which was almost as momentous in its repercussions as the Labour victory in 1945 or Margaret Thatcher’s win in 1979.

Harold Wilson’s Labour party won in 1964 by just four seats. It did so because of a brilliant campaign run by the Daily Mirror in the fortnight before polling day.

The Mirror harked on memories of the recent Profumo affair to depict the traditional Conservative ruling class as out-of-touch, over-privileged, effete, depraved, amateurish and backward-looking – “toffs”, in fact.

Ironically, the Labour leadership, with its reliance on trade union bosses, its fudged economic strategy and commitment to nationalised industries was just as narrow and regressive as the Tories.

The Profumo affair, ultimately, was a national crisis from whose aftershocks we are all still suffering.” [Guardian]

The woman at the heart of the Profumo scandal, Christine Keeler, dies aged 75

REFERENCES

Profumo affair model Christine Keeler dies aged 75 — BBC News

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SEXPIONAGE — Profumo Affair Christine Keeler Has Died

On This Day — Profumo Affair Christine Keeler Has Died (December 4 2017)

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