Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today in Gay History

March 11, 1957 -
Lady Chablis
, American entertainer

The Lady Chablis prevailed in the contest for recognition in this space today over writer Jack Kerouac, also born this date in 1934. (He hated his real first name, Jean-Louis, and claimed to be a bisexual despite 2 brief failed marriages to women and always downplayed his homosexual liaisons with Gore Vidal and others.)

But I digress. The Lady Chablis, pictured above in full drag, was born Benjamin Edward Knox in Quincy, Florida.
Her early career highlights include the following Southern Regional fame:

In her early career as an entertainer, including very early under the names Brenda Dale Knox and The Lady Jonel, she won multiple titles in drag pageantry including:

Miss Dixieland 1976, Miss Gay World 1976, The Grand Empress of Savannah 1977, Miss Sweetheart International 1989, Empress of Atlanta 1996, Miss Cosmo U.S. 1997, Miss Garden City 1997, Miss Atlanta Universe 1998, Miss Georgia National 1998, Miss Southern States USA 1998

She came to national fame in 1997 by stealing the show in the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, as the would-be love interest of the journalist portrayed by John Cusack. Openly closeted actor Kevin Spacey played a gay scion of Savannah society, but Lady Chablis' honesty won the hearts of audiences everywhere.

Happy Birthday, Lady Chablis Deveau!


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