Gone With The Wind Book

2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.

Celebrity Rehab participant Heidi Fleiss Got Her Start As A Madam, Much The Same As Belle Brezing, The Model For Gone With The Wind’s Belle Watling

Dr. Drew Pinsky is seriously considering dropping Season Four of Celebrity Rehab because according to various sources there are not enough legitimate celebrities who are willing to go on the show.

Celebrity Rehab features a group of actors who were well-known at one time working together to overcome alcohol or drug addictions. It is filmed at the Pasadena Recovery Center. Pinsky, an addiction specialist has tried to help such “celebrities” as Jeff Connaway (who played Kenickie in Grease), Brigitte Nielson, McKenzie Phillips, Dennis Rodman, and Heidi Fleiss on the show.

The show gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the celebrities’ treatment and often shows them in a bad light, which is one reason speculated why it is getting so hard to find celebrities. The Chicago Sun-Times interviewed several celebrity publicists who said they would encourage their addicted clients to seek treatment in a private facility where they would be getting their recovery treatment in private. Though it is popular with the fans, the pubicists felt it might hinder their client’s recovery.

According to the New York Daily News, Lindsay Lohan and Heather Locklear recently turned it down and the producers are working furiously to try to lock in some celebs by Wednesday. The show, which airs on VH1 has also tried to entice Charlie Sheen, Brooke Mueller and Jenna James, according to TMZ, but the website reports they all refused.

VH1 had wanted the list of celebrities for the upcoming season by last Friday but extended the deadline to Friday according to the New York Daily News. There is still a possibility of the show airing, and as of Monday model and reality star Tila Tequila had signed on.

Season Three of Celebrity Rehab featured Heidi Fleiss, the famous “Hollywood Madam” who had all of Tinseltown  scared to death in the late 1990’s when she was convicted in connection with her prostitution ring of charges including tax evasion. It was rumored that her “little black book” had the biggest names in show business. She ended up serving 21 months in prison.  Fleiss reportedly achieved sobriety and went on to the television show Sober House as she continued with her quest to stay off the methamphetamines she was hooked on.

Fleiss’ experience as one of the country’s most famous madam’s began when she was very young. She first became a prostitute under a powerful madam, but quickly figured out how to run her own business and struck out on her own.  She had a wealthy financier and eventually served the richest and most famous of clients.

That scenario rang true for another very notable madam, Belle Brezing (1860-1940) of Lexington, Kentucky.  Belle, who had humble beginnings started out working for the successful madam, Jenny Hill, but she too began studying her boss and soon she moved out and opened her own brothel. Just like Heidi Fleiss, Brezing had a wealthy man behind her, a big politician from Pennsylvania.

Their stories part ways because Belle Brezing, though she catered to the wealthiest of all the horse owners who came to town for the horse racing in Lexington had a heart of gold. Belle knew what it was like to be poor and the only way you could make your money was to turn to prostitution. She knew what it was like to be an outcast and have no place to go for the holidays, so she treated her “girls” like princesses. They had the finest clothes and on Christmas Eve she would treat them to a special party.

“Miss Belle” was famous in Lexington and would be seen shopping for her girls at stores around town.  She bought her furs at Lowenthal’s, a store that is still in business. Everybody knew her as she rode around in her fine carriage, and made charitable donations to the hospital.

She was a fantastic cook and often invited the police and crime reporters from the Lexington newspaper to come for breakfast. This was her way of staying in good with them. One of the reporters who may have eaten breakfast in Belle’s dining room was John Marsh, a young cub reporter from Kentucky who ended up marrying Peggy Mitchell of Atlanta—THE Margaret Mitchell of Gone With The Wind fame.

Residents of Lexington recognized Belle Brezing in the Gone With The Wind character Belle Watling. Though Mitchell denied her character was based on Brezing, my Lexington research shows some amazing comparisons, which I included in the chapter on Belle in The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel, Gone With The Wind. The storyline of Frank Kennedy’s death and the moving of his body to the lot behind Belle’s house, along with the cover-up was based on the real murder of a man whose body was found behind Belle Brezing’s house in Lexington, Kentucky.

Lexington Kentucky’s History Museum is celebrating one of their town’s most famous residents on June 15th as they remember her June 16th birthday with the Belle’s Birthday Ball at the Lexington History Museum. Though Belle Brezing was known as a high-classed madam, and even respected in some ways, there is an area known as “The Cheapside” that plays in their celebration of Belle Brezing and Belle Watling.

I plan on being at the event, doing a book signing with my friend and fellow author Kathy Witt. If you are in the area or planning a trip to Lexington, please come up and say hello.

By Sally Tippett Rains, Author of The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story Of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel, Gone With The Wind (www.GWTWbook.com) Follow us on Facebook: GWTWbook May 25, 2010

Here is the information for anyone who would like to attend:

The Lexington History Museum will be hosting its annual fundraiser, Belle’s Birthday Ball, on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 from 5-8 p.m.    Admission:  Singles $40 advance/$50 at the door.   Couples $75 advance/$100 at the door

Lexington History Museum

Location: 215 W. Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky, 40502

Phone:  859-254-0530 (For more information)

Belle’s Birthday Ball at the Lexington History Museum Join the Lexington History Museum for its Second Annual Belle’s Birthday Ball fundraising event. Enjoy “A Taste of Cheapside” provided by area restaurants and music by “The Jazz Visitors.” Cash bar. Silent auction.

Special guests include “Belle and her girls.” Book signings with authors Sally Rains and Kathryn Witt. Advance tickets: $40 single, $75 couple. RSVP by Wednesday, June 9. All proceeds benefit The Lexington History Museum.

We’re celebrating Belle Brezing’s 150th Birthday in style. In addition to the admission fee, please considering giving Belle a very special birthday gift!

Case of Weidemann Beer ($25)
Case of White Seal Sparkling Wine ($50)
Gold Ring from King & Metzler ($100)
Ball Gown from Caden & Caden ($250)
Diamond Bracelet from Bogaert & Victor ($500)
Mink Coat from Lowenthal’s ($1000) (You could have a coat from the same place Belle got hers!)
Governor’s Pardon ($5000)
**All source names were in operation in 1909, when Belle turned 49**

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Lexington History Museum which engages all people in the history of Lexington and the Bluegrass Region. Follow this event on Facebook, Belle’s Birthday Ball at the Lexington History Museum.


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This entry was posted on May 24, 2010 by in Belle Watling, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, Uncategorized and tagged .


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