Georgia and the world is a lot less glamorous, sparkly and pucker-inducing today, because one of the crown jewels of Savannah and the grand dames of the drag world, The Lady Chablis, is now roaring up in heaven with the angels. WTOC reports that The Lady Chablis (or “The Doll” as many called her) died today at St. Joseph’s/Candler hospital in Savannah while surrounded by her family and friends. She was 59.
The Lady Chablis was the reigning Grand Empress of Savannah’s Club One and began performing there when the club first opened nearly 3 decades ago. She became a bigger star when author John Berendt met her and put her in his book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. When the book was turned into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood, he made the best decision of his life by casting The Lady Chablis as herself. She easily stole the entire movie and was also robbed of an Oscar. Kim Basinger is the one who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1998, so she better give that award to The Lady Chablis’ estate. It’s rightfully hers! The quotes, “Two tears in a bucket, motherfuck it,” “He’s walking kind of fancy this morning,” and “I am a bitch and proud of it, honey” regularly make the rounds in my head.
Club One released a statement on Facebook about the loss of The Lady Chablis:
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.
In his Best Selling novel, known in Savannah as The Book, John Berendt wrote that when he first met The Lady Chablis, “she had both hands on her hips and a sassy half-smile on her face,” a pose that would grace many stages.
Just as The Book 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.
For some weird reason, a supercut of The Lady Chablis’ scenes in Midnight in the Garden doesn’t exist on YouTube. While I call 911 to report that criminal act, you can watch The Lady Chablis easily snatching a scene away from John Cusack.
Rest in peace, The Lady Chablis.