Lady Ch­ablis dead at 59

GA Voice - - Newsbriefs -

Leg­endary drag per­former Lady Ch­ablis died Sept. 8 at age 59. Club One in Sa­van­nah—where Ch­ablis was a fix­ture since its 1988 open­ing—an­nounced her death via a Face­book post, with the club’s co-owner and long­time friend Caleb Hall later say­ing the per­former died of pneu­mo­nia.

Ch­ablis—the sec­ond iconic Georgia drag per­former to pass away in the last month after Di­a­mond Lil’s pass­ing in early Au­gust— gained the bulk of her fame by co-star­ring in the 1997 crime drama “Mid­night in the Gar­den of Good and Evil,” an adap­ta­tion of the 1994 non-fic­tion work by John Berendt.

“In a good way, it made me fa­mous,” she told the Sa­van­nah Morn­ing News ear­lier this year. “It got me to places I never imag­ined I would go ...”

But she added that there was a down­side to the fame as well, say­ing, “It took away my se­cu­rity and pri­vacy and trust. Also, it put me in the lime­light where I had to wear that la­bel ‘drag queen.’ I’ve never been com­fort­able with that la­bel. That sort of brought me out of the closet. I had to come to terms with that.”

Ch­ablis re­leased her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy “Hid­ing My Candy” in 1996 and con­tin­ued to per­form in the en­su­ing decades, of­ten do­nat­ing and con­tribut­ing to many LGBT char­i­ties in the process.

“Ch­ablis al­ways wanted to give the au­di­ence, be it 15 or 1500, the best that she had,” read Club One’s Face­book post. “With her de­clin­ing health, she re­gret­ted that her body wouldn’t al­low her to give more.”

She died sur­rounded by friends and fam­ily at St. Joseph’s/Can­dler Hos­pi­tal, ac­cord­ing to WTOC.

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