Lady Chablis, transgender 'Midnight' star, dies in Savannah

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The Lady Chablis, the transgender performer who became a celebrity for her role in the 1994 best-seller "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," has died in Savannah.

Chablis' sister, Cynthia Ponder, confirmed she died Thursday morning at a Savannah hospital. She was 59.

Author John Berendt chronicled an array of eccentric, real-life characters in "Midnight." Berendt said Thursday that Chablis was the most popular. He said "she had more to do with the book's success than any other character."

Chablis, whose birth name was Benjamin Edward Knox, played herself in the 1997 "Midnight" movie directed by Clint Eastwood. That same year she published an autobiography, "Hiding My Candy."

Cale Hall, co-owner of the Savannah nightclub where Chablis performed since 1988, said fans admired her "pure honesty."

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