The Lady Chablis, most notably known for her role in the 1997 film adaptation of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, passed away on Thursday morning.
News of the 59 year old’s death comes from Club One, the Savannah, Georgia hot spot where Chablis famously performed.
“The Lady Chablis, who stole hearts – and the spotlight – in Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil, passed this morning surrounded by friends and family,” the Facebook post read. “She was Club One’s very first entertainer, officiating our grand opening in 1988, and paving the way for female impersonation in Savannah. No one, however, could outshine the Grand Empress herself.”
A friend, Cale Hall, confirmed with the Associated Press that Chablis’ cause of death was pneumonia.
Chablis rose to fame as the star of the 1997 movie based on Berendt’s bestselling 1994 non-fiction novel of the same name.
Born Benjamin Edward Knox, The Lady Chablis was welcomed into the drag community with open arms and was equally invested in her own philanthropic endeavors as she was performing and entertaining.
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“She was the headlining entertainer for Savannah Pride’s inaugural celebration, and hosted their Miss Gay Pride Pageant. She would go on to perform, donate and contribute to many LGBT charities throughout her career,” stated Club One.
Chablis is survived by her sister Cynthia Ponder, who told the Associated Press that Chablis’ unwavering legacy will live on long after her death.
“The legacy that she wanted to leave was one of ‘believe in who you are and never let the world change who you are,’ ” her sister, she said. “Love yourself first and respect yourself first and others will love and respect you.”