SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Savannah’s doll and empress was remembered last night. Friends and family by the dozens filled the Lucas Theatre taking a look back at the legacy of The Lady Chablis.
“You had the book, the movie, and the lady,” says Savannah Film Alliance member Charles Bowen.
The lady of sass and swagger, glam and gall, she was the doll and for many the diva.
“She wanted to be this Chablis, I knew Brenda and I knew Chablis and I liked Brenda better,” says longtime friend Chanel Stevens
The Lady Chablis died in September. The service was held two months later after hurricane Matthew delayed the ceremony. As the lady said about her role in “midnight” the service had to be her and had to happen.
“She was one of the first transgender performers that was accepted by a general audience. The term transgender had hardly ever been used, clearly something was happening and Chablis was at the forefront of it,” says “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” author John Berendt.
Not only was she leading the charge for transgender people, but for herself to show the world Brenda Dale Knox.
“The Lady Chablis is my name, it’s my legal name, so I think I’m one of the first people with the name ‘The’,” says the Lady herself in a previous interview.
On stage and on screen she was iconic. In person and alone people knew her wit and audacity to never be ashamed of who she was.
“Chablis was an artist and her greatest masterpiece was herself,” says Berendt.
As dozens come to remember her, Chablis for them will be immortalized in exposing the transgender community around the south as well as on a national scale. Her impacts in the Savannah film industry continue to be felt according to those at the Savannah Film Alliance. In typical Chablis fashion, her name lines the Lucas Theatre marquee, her name in lights, one last time.
“I am more than grateful for her, for that day thirty years ago, when she invited herself into my car, my book and my life..thank you,” says Berendt closing his speech.