Lady Chablis, Famed Drag Performer in ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,’ Dies at 59

John Berendt wrote about her in his bestselling novel, and she starred in the film adaptation directed by Clint Eastwood

Last Updated: September 8, 2016 @ 9:42 AM

The Lady Chablis, drag performer famous for her role in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” died on Thursday. She was 59.

According to Club One, a Savannah, Georgia club where she performed, she died surrounded by friends and family. The club wrote that Chablis was Club One’s very first entertainer, who officiated its grand opening in 1988.

“Chablis always wanted to give the audience, be it 15 or 1,500, the best that she had,” the post stated. “With her declining health, she regretted that her body wouldn’t allow her to give more.” The cause of death was not disclosed.

Born Benjamin Edward Knox, Lady Chablis became a subject of author John Berendt’s bestselling novel, “Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil.” She then starred as herself in the 1997 movie adaptation directed by Clint Eastwood. Lady Chablis once told USA Today that she would play herself in the movie “or there would not be one.”

The book propelled Chablis to stardom, netting her interviews with “Good Morning America” and Oprah Winfrey. In 1996 she released her own autobiography titled “Hiding my Candy.”

Throughout the 2000s, she worked on campaigns for the American Diabetes Association, to which she donated thousands of dollars raised by her performances. She was also the headlining entertainer for Savannah Pride’s inaugural celebration, and hosted their Miss Gay Pride Pageant.

Chablis is survived by her sister, Cynthia.

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