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Welcome to the memorial page for

The Lady Chablis

March 11, 1957 ~ September 8, 2016 (age 59)

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Celebration of Life
November 5, 2016

4:00 PM
Lucas Theatre
32 Abercorn St
Savannah, GA 31401

November 5, 2016

7:00 PM
Club One
1 Jefferson Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Ms. Brenda Dale Knox "The Lady Chablis", 59, had her transition on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at Candler Hospital surrounded by her loving family.

Due to Hurricane Matthew; A Celebration of Life for The Lady CHABLIS has been postponed and will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2016 from 4:00 P.M.-6:00 P.M. at the Lucas Theatre located 32 Abercorn Street in downtown Savannah.

A reception will following at Club One located 1 Jefferson Street, Savannah GA 31401.

The Lucas Theatre will be showing Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil at 8:00 P.M. that evening and will be 2 shows at Club One beginning at 10:30 P.M. and 12:30 P.M.



Lady Chablis passed away at St. Joseph's/Candler surrounded by family and close friends. "The Doll" rose to fame in the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and movie of the same name. She also wrote a book, 'Hiding My Candy' and appeared on various TV and talk shows, including "Oprah." Chablis continued performing around the country making Club One her home base in Savannah, drawing crowds once a month for special appearances. We will be following this story and have a look at her life, times and career of a true Savannah character. Rest In Peace, Grand Empress of Savannah.

AUTHOR JOHN BERENDT COMMENTS ON PASSING OF LADY CHABLIS...I just spoke to John Berendt on the phone. He writes: 

"Chablis has been by far the most popular character in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," the one I'm asked about most often. She'll be remembered for her outrageous profanity-laced spontaneity and for being one of the first up-front transsexual personalities to be accepted by a wide audience.

Chablis could be playful and ironic, but she had a tough inner core. "Don't be fooled by this dress I'm wearing," she'd say with a hint of danger in her voice. When it was announced that Clint Eastwood would direct a movie of the book, Chablis was only half-joking when she said, "If I'm not cast as myself in that movie, there won't be a movie!"

Eastwood wisely cast Chablis as Chablis. He then encouraged her to be herself, and to deliver her lines in a manner that seemed most natural to her, which she did."

A STATEMENT FROM Club One: "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. 

With the success of “The Book,” Chablis shot to stardom. She was a guest on Good Morning America, and was interviewed by Oprah. She insisted to USA Today that she would play herself in the movie - or there would not be one. She’d be the first to tell you that she stole the show in Clint Eastwood’s 1997 adaptation. Since then, thousands of visitors have come to Savannah, visiting the locations in The Book, and crowding into Club One to see her. 

In 1996, she released her autobiography “Hiding My Candy,” dubbed by her publisher as a cross between The Color Purple and Cinderella. The Doll loved to cook, and included several of her favorite recipes at the back of her book, like Brenda’s Kickin’ Chicken. 

She has long been a giver to the community. Throughout the 2000’s, she worked closely on various campaigns for the American Diabetes Association, donating thousands of dollars raised by her performances to the cause.

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.

Chablis always wanted to give the audience, be it 15 or 1500, the best that she had. With her declining health, she regretted that her body wouldn’t allow her to give more. The Lady is survived by  two sisters: Cynthia Ponder and Lois Stevens; two brothers: Charles Whiteside and Joh Farley Jr.; two aunts: Bettye Ponder and Ella Ponder; long time friend Debra Vanhorn; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, who request privacy during this time of grief."

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