Savannah, GA (WLTX) - The Lady Chablis, a stable of the Savannah, Georgia nightlife who became nationally famous thanks to an appearance in a film and a book, has passed away.
Club One, where she often performed in Savannah, released a statement on their website Thursday saying Chablis had died "surrounded by friends and family."
For decades, Chablis, whose birth name was Benjamin Edward Knox, had an act working as a drag queen, performing at various clubs throughout the South and the rest of the country. In the 1990s, however, she gained wide popularity when author John Berendt included her as a character in his book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." The non-fiction work gives an account of a killing in Savannah, and in the book, the author included Chablis, a colorful character that he met there while working on the novel.
When director Clint Eastwood adapted the work into a film in 1997, he included Chablis, who played herself in the movie.
The added fame led to appearances on national talk shows and other media, her to writer her own book, "Hiding My Candy." Savannah visitors who came to find locations mentioned in the book or movie would often seek her out as part of their took.
She continued to perform regularly in Savannah, however, and had a stage show at Club One. She also helped raise money for charity, including the American Diabetes Association and LGBT organizations.
The statement doesn't say how she died, but notes that she'd been in declining health. Chablis was 59.