Mandy Rice-Davies was still up for sale today - barely 24 hours after she died.
An ‘historic image’ of the Birmingham-raised former model and show-girl - a central figure in the infamous 1963 Profumo scandal - was snapped up on E-Bay late on Saturday morning 20 December 2014 for the princely sum of US $12.00 (approx. £7.07 / NIS 47.10) plus US $4.99 (£3.19 / NIS 19.59).
The watermarked ‘Press Photo’ shows her after her 1966 marriage to Israeli businessman Rafael Shaul with whom she had a daughter, Dana. The couple stayed together for ten years.
Ms Rice-Davies, latterly known as Marilyn Foreman, began her life in Israel before the country acquired its modern pariah status – something, I’m sure, with which she would have empathised.
“In 1964 she began a career as a chanteuse, touring cabarets on the continent and eventually in Israel, where she met airline steward Rafael Shaul. Jettisoning the French count to whom she was engaged, she wed Shaul, then 26, took up Judaism and settled with him in Tel Aviv. The faith of Abraham soon fell by the wayside ("I just couldn't take all that business about the...baths," she once said … During that time the two collaborated on nearly everything from parenthood … to a Hebrew magazine to a string of nightspots and restaurants that bore Mandy's name. Not content with her role as disco queen, she dabbled in a dress business and picked up acting jobs in Hebrew-language children's films and more mature movies such as ‘The Rabbi and the Shiksa’.“
Or perhaps you prefer :
“While touring Israel Rice-Davies met Rafael Shaul, who owned the Whisky-A-Go-Go in Tel Aviv. The couple were married on 17th September 1966. Soon afterwards they established Mandy's Club. It was a great success: ‘Mandy's was a membership club: 500 official members and a waiting list which reached several thousands ... The club was the first of several. Our brand of expertise became extremely marketable’. Rice-Davies also joined forces with Monty Marks, a London-based fashion manufacturer, to open a dress factory aimed at the younger market. She later commented: "By the time I left Israel, it was a very big factory with a huge turnover”.“
“Many Rice-Davies parted from her husband in 1971 but they continued to be business partners. She also continued her acting career in Israel and appeared in several films including ‘Kuni Leml B'Tel Aviv’ (1976), ‘Hershele’ (1977) and ‘Millioner Betzarot‘ (1978).
“In 1980 Mandy Rice-Davies published her autobiography, ‘Mandy’. She continued to work as an actress and appeared in ‘Nana’ (1982), ‘The Seven Magnificent Gladiators’ (1983), ‘Kuni Leml B'Kahir’ (1983), ‘Black Venus’ (1983) and ‘Absolute Beginners’ (1986).“
But what's the betting if she were still alive and able to enjoy the attention, the spirited and intelligent entrepreneur would best love reliving the moment surrounded by these heroes from the Israel Defence Forces.
If anyone recognise himself, a dad – even a granddad - please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!
© Natalie Wood (20 December 2014)