The final curtain has fallen on a drag icon and of the most memorable characters from ‘Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil.’ The Lady Chablis, the legendary Club One performer of Savannah, Georgia, passed away on Sept. 8. She was 59.
“The Lady Chablis, who stole hearts – and the spotlight – in Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil, passed away this morning, surrounded by friends and family,” Club One in Savannah, GA posted on their Facebook page on Sept. 8.
Club One, often considered The Lady Chablis’s second home (because she performed there on opening night in 1988), also said “Chablis always wanted to give the audience, be it 15 or 1500, the best that she had. With her declining health, she regretted that her body wouldn’t allow her to give more.”
Lady Chablis gained national attention thanks to John Berendt’s, 79, book, per Savannah Now. When writing about first meeting the drag legend, John wrote, “she had both hands on her hips and a sassy half-smile on her face.” Such fierceness would be her signature.
Her fame rose in 1997, when she was cast in the film adaptation of the novel, directed by Clint Eastwood, 86. Club One stated that if Lady Chablis didn’t get a chance to play herself in the movie, she said, “there would not be one.” Since then, many fans of the movie and the book visited Savannah, ultimately winding up into Club One to see her.
The fame led to guest appearance on Good Morning America and an interview with Oprah Winfrey, 62. While John Berendt’s book claimed The Lady Chablis was a transgender woman, she told Big Closet World in 2015 that “If I have to have a label, and as you know in today’s world it is a must, I prefer Female Impersonator, ’cause child, that’s what I do. Everything about me is learned from the female . . . my mom, grandma, girlfriends, stars, etc.”
Born Benjamin Edwards Knox in 1957 in Quincy, Florida, the Lady Chablis is survived by a sister, Cynthia. She was active in her community, working with the American Diabetes Association during the 2000s. She was also active in the LGBT community, contributing a great deal to charity throughout her career. Her life and incredible career was detailed in her 1996 memoir, Hiding My Candy: The Autobiography of the Grand Empress of Savannah.
Our thoughts go out to the family, friends and fans of The Lady Chablis during this heartbreaking time of loss.