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KET airs new documentary on Lexington madam Belle Brezing


KET airs new documentary on Lexington madam Belle Brezing

For Release: 04/26/17 11:11 AM

Belle Brezing, the famous Lexington madam thought to be the inspiration behind the character of Belle Whatling, the kind-hearted brothel owner in Gone With the Wind, lived a life worthy of her own story, rising from prostitution to become one of her era’s most successful businesswomen.

The new documentary Belle Brezing and the Gilded Age of the Bluegrass shines a light on the remarkable life of one of Lexington’s most scandalous icons. The program airs Monday, May 15 at 9/8 pm on KET and Sunday, May 21 at 9/8 pm on KET2.

“With a head for business in the business of sex, Belle’s story is deeply woven into the tapestry of the Gilded Age of Lexington,” said Doug High, the film’s executive producer and director, well-known to Lexington audiences via his role as a WTVQ news anchor. “Belle built a ‘bawdy house’ of the highest class and distinction, which hosted prominent clients from around the country. The Bluegrass equine and bourbon industries grew to new heights in her influential parlor.”

The film details Brezing’s journey from hardscrabble youth to her reign as “Baroness of the Brothel” via archival images from the Belle Brezing photographic collection; insights by Brezing biographers Maryjean Wall and Doug Tattershall and historian Foster Ockerman Jr.; and new reenactment footage starring Laurie Genet Preston as Brezing.

The documentary is narrated by artist Elizabeth Shatner, wife of actor William Shatner.

Belle Brezing and the Gilded Age of the Bluegrass is a production of High Impact Productions and Post Time Studios of Lexington, executive produced and directed by Doug High.

KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and and at


Todd Piccirilli
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications