Christine Keeler dead; British call girl who had affair with John Profumo was 75

Sex scandal cabaret dancer Christine Keeler has died aged 75.

The former call girl, whose affair with married cabinet minister John Profumo shook the British establishment, passed away after a battle with lung disease.

National Archives papers. File photo dated 19/6/1963 of John Profumo, the Tory minister forced to quit after a notorious 1960s sex scandal, who also had a long-running relationship with a glamorous Nazi spy who may later have tried to blackmail him, newly declassified records suggest. Issue date: Tuesday November 28, 2017. Fashion model Gisela Winegard met Profumo at Oxford in the early 1930s before working for German intelligence in Paris during the Second World War, according to MI5 files published on Tuesday. See PA story RECORDS Profumo. Photo credit should read: PA Wire URN:33914263

John Profumo was a British cabinet minister who had an affair with Keeler.  (AP)

Son Seymour Platt, 46, said she died on Monday at the Princess Royal university hospital in Farnborough, Hamps, suffering from the lung disease COPD.

Writing a tribute online, he said: “I wish to share some sad news. My mother, the grandmother to my beautiful little girl, passed away late last night. She suffered in the last few years with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease but lost the fight.

"As many of you know my mother, Christine Keeler, fought many fights in her eventful life, some fights she lost but some she won.

"She earned her place in British history but at a huge personal price.We are all very proud of who she was."

Christine worked as a topless performer in London's Soho when as a 19-year-old she met society man-about-town Stephen Ward.

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Christine Keeler had several affairs with prominent figures, making her a household name.  (Shutterstock)

He introduced her to a whirlwind party scene involving what were described as orgies attended by aristocrats and VIPs.

It was through Ward that she met 46-year-old Profumo and Soviet spy Yevgeny Ivanov in 1961. She had affairs with them both.

When the love triangle came to light two years later, fears of a Cold War security leak sparked a lurid scandal that rocked the government and had the public transfixed for months.

KEELER GOES TO COURT AGAIN -- An onlooker peers through the car window as Christine Keeler drives from her home in Linhope Street, Marylebone, London, today, October 28, 1963, on her way to Marylebome Magistrates' Court. Miss Keeler, two other women and a man are facing charges at the hearing which resumes today. The three women are accused of perjury and man is charged with conspiracy. (AP-PHOTO/sgr/str/N.)

Keeler was one of the most famous people in the world in 1963.  (AP)

It made Christine Keeler one of the most famous women in the world in 1963.

Mr. Platt, who lives in Ireland, said: "There was a lot of good around Chris’s rather tragic life, because there was a family around her that loved her.

“I think what happened to her back in the day was quite damaging."

Christine Keeler was born in Uxbridge, Middlesex, in 1942 and raised in Berkshire by her mom and step-dad.

Profumo was Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's Tory government when he first saw Christine climbing naked out of a swimming pool at Lord Astor's mansion.

They began an affair that lasted from a few weeks to several months, according to various accounts.

At the same time, Christine was sleeping with diplomat Yevgeny Ivanov, an intelligence officer and the Soviet Union's naval attache in London.

Some accounts claim MI5 hoped to use Keeler as a "honey trap" to persuade Ivanov to defect, and were alarmed when they found out she was also seeing Profumo.

They warned the minister about being associated with Ward's seedy circle, and he ended the affair.

It remained hidden from the public until 1963 when her disintegrating love life thrust her into the spotlight.

A jealous boyfriend, Lucky Gordon, fired bullets at Ward's front door as she hid inside, and the subsequent Old Bailey trial caused rumours to swirl in Westminster.

Profumo lied to the House of Commons, denying any impropriety with Keeler, but was later forced to quit in disgrace, followed months later by the prime minister.

The BBC is currently making a show about the Profumo affair. Filming of The Trial Of Christine Keeler is due to begin next year.

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