Christine Keeler

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The story of the woman behind the famous nude girl in the chair photo and the infamous sex scandal of the 60's ~ both of which are said to have ushered in the swinging, sexual, sixties.

Find Out More About Lewis Morley's Famous Nude Portrait of Christine Keeler and The Chair Itself Christine Keeler was the infamous woman at the center of the 1960's Profumo scandal in England (and it had it's American impact as well). Keeler had affairs with both John 'Jack' Profumo, war minister in Harold McMillan's Conservative government, and Eugene Ivanov, the assistant Naval Attache to the USSR embassy who was considered to be a spy by MI5. Obviously, this mix created quite a scandal. Keeler was just 19 years old when the smack went down.

But as always, there's a life which leads up to such events...

Christine Keeler grew up with her mother and stepfather in the Berkshire village of Wraysbury. The home was small and allowed little privacy. Although she was close to her mother, she felt threatened by her stepfather's attentions to the point where she kept a knife under her pillow in case he forced himself upon her.

Keeler Photo In 1957, at the age of 15, Keeler commuted daily from Wraysbury to London for her job as a model at a dress shop in the Soho quarter. One day the shop's sweeper invited her to his flat... There, she lost her virginity in what she described as a non-stimulating experience.

At 16, Keeler was dating American GI's from military bases in her town of Wraysbury. One of the men, a black sergeant from Laleham Air Force base named Jim. Months after he had left for the states, Keeler discovered she was pregnant. She tried to abort the baby herself with a knitting needle and as expected, it was a bloody, traumaticatic mess. The child was not aborted, but born prematurely on 17 April 1959 and lived just six days.

That summer Keeler left Wraysbury, and an unhappy life, for a life of excitementment and adventure in London.

She waitressed at a restaurant in Baker Street where she soon met Maureen O'Connor, a girl who worked at Murray's Cabaret Club in Soho. O'Connor introduced Keeler to the owner, Percy Murray, who hired her almost immediately as a topless showgirl. Part of a showgirl's work then, as now, involved encouraging them to buy more drinks by sitting with the customers between acts.

One night, a rich Arab customer, accompanied by a starlet and another man, came to the club. The other man was Dr. Stephen Ward. Ward was a society osteopath who mixed in influential circles, presumably for introducing pretty party girls to the aristocratic set. Charming Keeler with compliments regarding how "wonderful" she was in the show, Ward wormed his way into getting her phone number.

Keeler of the Profumo Affair The next day, Ward called Keeler three times; she blew him off. But he turned up at her family's home in Wraysbury and charmed her mother into Keeler giving him one date. On the second date Ward asked Keeler to move into his flat in Bayswater.

Keeler agreed; she was an attractive woman alone in a big city and Ward could give her security and companionship. Ward did not pester her for sex like most men, and Keeler referred to their living arrangements as like that of a 'brother and sister'. Some time after meeting Ward, Keeler met a new dancer at the club, Mandy Rice-Davies.

Rice-Davies has been quoted as saying "It was dislike at first sight," and Keeler apparently felt the same, but as both girls found themselves at the same parties, they became companions if not friends. Not only did they compliment each other well as far as personality, the two also worked well in the bedroom, earning themselves money for clothes and entertainment purposes.

Keeler During the scandal, Ward was charged with living on the "immoral earnings" of Keeler and Rice-Davies and running a brothel in his home. Keeler has strenuously denied this. She claims Ward used women and sex not for cash, but to gain access to the affluent and to influence his rich peers. Keeler also claims Ward was a spy for the Soviet Union and that he asked her to do work for him. Tasks included were to get information from Profumo about the placing of nuclear warheads in West Germany, droppingoping off letters at the Soviet Embassy. Keeler claims that once while water-skiing Ward had tried to kill her because he feared she was going to blow the whistle on him. (Ward was prosecuted but committed suicide on the very last day of the trial -- before the jury reached their verdict.) But back to Keeler's story...

In July of 1961, after swimming in the buff in Lord Astor's pool, Keeler met both Profumo and Ivanov. The two vied for Keeler's attention. Keeler preferred Ivanov, believing he was a real mans man. But one drive around London in the ministerial limousine, and Keeler was smitten by Profumo's aura of power. The affair lasted about a month before Profumo called it quits for reasons of propriety.

By November Keeler had a number of lovers. General Ayub Khan, then military dictator of Pakistan, makes the list. But two rivals, West Indian men, Aloysius "Lucky" Gordon and Johnny Edgecombe, would lead to the discovery of her affair with Profumo.

Gordon was jealously infatuated with Keeler. He had assaulted Keeler in the street and she alleges he held her hostage for two days with an axe. (Keeler dropped charges for the latter incident due to appeals from Gordon's brother who feared that Gordon would get a long sentence because of his criminal record for violence.)

Christine Keeler Photo by Edward Quinn After rejecting Gordon for the last time, Keeler bought a gun to protect herself from him. She also enlisted Edgecombe to help with her security. This led to Edgecombe and Gordon meting face-to-face in 27 October 1962 at a Soho club. A confrontation ensued, and Edgecombe slit Gordon's face with a knife -- Gordon's wound needed 17 stitches.

Edgecombe quickly went into hiding from the police. Keeler, in fear for her life, changed her address so that Gordon could not find her. After a few weeks, Edgecombe realized that he could not remain in hiding indefinitely. He asked Keeler to help him find a lawyer so he could surrender himself to the police. But as Edgecombe had taken another lover, a jealous Keeler refused, telling him that not only would she not help him, but that she planned to testify against him in court.

Obviously outraged by Keeler's decision, Edgecombe showed up outside Ward's flat on December 14, 1962. Keeler was there visiting Rice-Davies; she refused to let him in. Incensed, Edgecombe used the gun that had once belonged to Keeler to shoot at the flat door resulting in enough noise to startle neighbors. Quickly the area was teaming with police and journalists. Edgecombe managed to get away in a taxi, but was later arrested at his Brentford flat.

Hunted Christine Keeler It was during the investigation of this incident that the details of Keeler's affair with Profumo were discovered. Keeler tried to escape to Spain, and a ridiculous chase ensued as the entourage of reporters pursued her through Europe.

Keeler was found guilty on unrelated perjury charges for not attending as a witness in the trial regarding Gordon's attack. She was imprisoned for nine months in Holloway Prison.

Keeler changed her name, took a job, and when her past has caught up with her, she's been fired. She had two children, from two different fathers. She is said to be estranged from one son yet close to the other.

Today she lives in a council owned flat in north London with her cat.

When Profumo died (March 10, 2006), Keeler said she had not been in love with him as he was so many years older than her.

Christine Keeler, 1980, by Arthur Steel More than 40 years later Keeler is still bewildered by what happened. She has made public claims that Ward and herself were used as a "smokescreen" by the establishment who wanted the focus kept on the racier aspects of the story, concealing the serious breach of British security.

Yeah, like that would ever happen (wink).

Silent Porn Star
For more on Keeler, see Silent Porn Star's original post which has information on books etc.

 

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