Christine Keeler, model in Britain's notorious sex-and-spy Profumo scandal, dies at 75

Christine Keeler, the central figure in the sex-and-espionage Profumo scandal that rocked Cold War Britain, has died at 75.

Her son, Seymour Platt, posted on Facebook that Keeler died Monday at a hospital near Farnborough in southern England.

Born in 1943, Keeler was a model and nightclub dancer in 1963 when she had an affair with British War Secretary John Profumo.

When it emerged that Keeler had also slept with a Soviet naval attache, the collision of sex, wealth and national security issues caused a sensation and helped topple the Conservative government.

Profumo, married at the time, resigned in disgrace. He died in 2006.

Another person swept up in the scandal, London osteopath Steven Ward, committed suicide.

The Profumo affair, which mesmerized Englanders during a subsequent trial, became the basis for the 1989 film “Scandal,” in which Keeler was portrayed by Joanne Whalley.

A photo of Keeler straddling the back of a chair naked is among the most famous U.K. images of the 1960s, and was mimicked for the movie’s poster.

Keeler was ultimately sentenced to nine months in prison for perjury. She served six months of her sentence and spent the rest of her life trying to escape her unwanted notoriety.

“As many of you know my mother, Christine Keeler, fought many fights in her eventful life, some fights she lost but some she won,” Seymour Platt said on Facebook.

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

A Times staff writer contributed to this report

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