Lady Chablis who found stardom in the film adaptation of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has died.
Chablis performed her cabaret at gay nightclubs in Columbia, S.C., and opened Savannnah’s Club One in 1988. Chablis figured prominently in John Berendt‘s best-selling non-fiction book of the same name. The book focused on the murder of a male prostitute, allegedly committed by Jim Williams, a Savannah socialite and antiques dealer. Berendt effectively captured the charms of Savannah, and included Chablis as a major character. When Clint Eastwoodadapted the film, Chablis insisted on playing herself — and she got her wish.
Starring Kevin Spacey as the mostly closeted Williams (hello!?) the film catapulted both Savannah and Chablis into fame. Crowds would flock to the historic streets of the city to check out sites from the film and hopefully catch a performance by Chablis.
Chablis continued her club performances term the film and wrote an autobiography. She appeared on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and used her fame for good, raising money for diabetes and LGBT causes. She remained beloved in Savannah, even though she lived in South Carolina.
Club One wrote on its Facebook page,
“Just as [Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil] shined the spotlight on Savannah, so too did Chablis shine the spotlight on the gay scene, and especially on Club One. 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.“
Can I get an amen up in here? Chablis was 59. Let’s have one last quick look.