The Lady Chablis
|The Lady Chablis|
Benjamin Edward Knox|
March 11, 1957
Quincy, Florida, U.S.
September 8, 2016 (aged 59)|
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
|Other names||Brenda Dale Knox|
Brenda Dale Knox (March 11, 1957 – September 8, 2016), known professionally as The Lady Chablis, was an American actress, author, and drag performer. Through exposure in the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and its 1997 film adaptation she became one of the first drag performers to be accepted by a wider audience.
Born Benjamin Edward Knox in North Florida in 1957, she had at least one sibling (a sister). Knox grew up during the 1960s and 1970s in Quincy, Florida. Legally her name was changed to "The Lady Chablis" in the 1990s.
Chablis frequently performed at her "home" nightclub of Club One in Savannah, where she was known as the "Grand Empress". Chablis traveled the US performing at various venues and special events, such as gay pride gatherings. She also appeared on radio shows. She was a prominent character in John Berendt's best-selling book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994), and played herself in the 1997 film adaptation, starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack.
The Lady Chablis was featured in the closing segment of the Savannah episode of Bizarre Foods America on The Travel Channel. She joined host Andrew Zimmern at several Savannah restaurants including Elizabeth on 37th. In 2012, she was interviewed in Savannah, Georgia on the local television and internet talk show "MAMA Knows Best Talk Show" season 2 episode 1. On April 19, 2013 Chablis performed for the grand opening of Mama's Cabaret in Lewiston, Maine with "MAMA" Savannah Georgia.
Awards and titles
In her early career as an entertainer, under the names Brenda Dale Knox, she won multiple titles in drag pageantry including:
- Miss Dixieland 1976
- Miss Gay World 1976
- The Grand Empress of Savannah 1977
- Miss Sweetheart International 1989
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – Chablis Deveau (as Lady Chablis) 1997
- Midnight in Savannah (TV documentary) – Herself 1997
- Partners (TV Movie) – Beverly 1999
- Damn Good Dog (video documentary) – Herself 2004
- Bizarre Foods America: Savannah – Herself 2012
- Real Housewives of Atlanta – Herself 2013
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According to Berendt's book, Chablis was a transgender woman; Berendt wrote that he met Chablis as she was returning home from having a hormone injection. In her book Hiding My Candy, Chablis said she had not undergone sex reassignment surgery.
- "The Lady Chablis, Best Known for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Has Died". Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- Times, Los Angeles. "Transgender performer Lady Chablis dies at 59; portrayed in best-selling book". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- CNN, Brandon Griggs. "Lady Chablis, transgender star of 'Midnight,' dies at 59". CNN. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- The Lady Chablis Sassy Transgender Figure in Savannah Book, Movie Dies at-59." Washington Post, Sept. 9, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- Chokshi, Niraj (2016-09-08). "The Lady Chablis, Sassy Eccentric in 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,' Dies at 59". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- Brian Kovalski (Savannah Georgia'Mama. "Brian Kovalski - Lowell (Massachusetts)". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Domain Default page". Archived from the original on 2014-01-06.
- Broverman, Neal. "Lady Chablis, Trans Icon and Savannah's Grand Empress, Dead at 59". The Advocate. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
- "The Lady Chablis, Sassy Eccentric in 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,' Dies at 59". 10 September 2016 – via The New York Times.