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John Blanchette, a publicist for Zsa Zsa Gabor for more than 30 years, died Tuesday at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica.
Courtesy Photo
John Blanchette, a publicist for Zsa Zsa Gabor for more than 30 years, died Tuesday at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica.

News, Obituary, Santa Monica

Santa Monica Publicist John Blanchette Dies Aged 68

A celebration of John Blanchette's life will be announced soon.
Courtesy photo
A celebration of John Blanchette's life will be announced soon.

Posted Mar. 8, 2014, 8:03 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

John M. (Jack) Blanchette Jr. -- president and owner of Blanchette & Associates Public Relations in Santa Monica -- died Tuesday, March 4. He was 68.

Blanchette a long-time Santa Monica resident who was born in Sudbury, Mass., passed away at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica after a brief battle with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a form of Leukemia.

Blanchette had worked in the field of entertainment and corporate publicity for more than three decades.

For the past 15 years he had also wrote travel, wine, and food features for Copley and Creators news syndicates.

Blanchette was the publicist for Zsa Zsa Gabor (30 years, longer than nine husbands), and he also worked with Ned Beatty, Delta Burke, Cary Grant, Valerie Harper, Bob Hope, Michael Jackson, Debbie Reynolds and many other celebrities.

He has represented the Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors, American Institute of Wine & Food, annual Sci-Fi Awards and Southern California’s Home Remodeling and Decorating shows.

Film promotions include “Argo,” “Behind the Candelabra,” “Il Postino,” and “L.A. Confidential,” along with stints in the publicity offices of FOX TV, KCBS and New World Pictures. His charitable work included the Actors Fund, ChildHelp, Make a Wish Foundation, Love is Feeding Everyone, Leukemia Foundation, and StepUp on Second.

He was co-producing a television special on Napa Valley’s wine country hosted by Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo.

Blanchette began his career as an editor at Harvard University Press. He moved to San Francisco and edited the Sierra Club Bulletin for three years, before moving to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry.

Blanchette was a very kind and generous person with an outgoing personality. He loved meeting new people and drumming up a conversation with them on just about any subject. He was a commuting student to Boston College from Sudbury, Mass., for two years, in his red 1962 model 122 round-top Volvo.

He spent six years at Boston College, earning a master’s in English Literature, which led to a rather lengthy habit with academia, culminating with a masters in Anglo-Irish Studies at University/Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and a degree in college administration from Indiana University.

His family frequently referred to him as “The Professional Student.”

Blanchette is the son of the earlier deceased Margaret and WWII Navy Flyer John Mark Sr. He leaves brother David H. of West Dennis, Thomas R. of Marthas Vinyard, Stephen J. of Sudbury, Donald R., of Rockport, Janet M., of Vancouver, Mary E. of Milton. Richard J. of Boynton Beach, Fla., and Christopher A. of Sudbury.

He also leaves 10 nieces and three nephews, brothers-in-law Dennis and James, and sisters-in-law Anne, Sheila, and Mary.

An early spring service will be scheduled and announced at a later date at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sudbury, Mass. An early summer celebration of life will be announced at a later date in Santa Monica.

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Mar. 8, 2014, 4:22:15 pm

Valerie said...

John was a dear friend and a terrific publicist. He loved Santa Monica, the farmers market and riding around town in his convertible. My sincere condolences to his family.

Mar. 8, 2014, 5:29:35 pm

Dan Greene said...

John was a dear friend. We spoke and visited often,even if we were working on a project at the time. We over the years worked on so many creative innovative things I can not begin to count them! Just a few weeks we were working on some TV and marketing projects. Those that knew him know he is now with Phil Palidino most likely planing some big press hoopla~ Above ! Rest in peace my friend I will miss him greatly .My sincere condolences to his family

Mar. 8, 2014, 5:47:01 pm

Holly Wallace said...

John had said that his favorite city was Santa Monica year round, and Boston any time but winter. He loved Santa Monica and represented and worked with many local chefs and restaurants, along with the Ocean Park Association, Main Street Business Improvement Association, Bayside District, and helped to launch Winterlit. He was a dear friend and will be missed by many.

Mar. 8, 2014, 7:12:41 pm

John Clayton said...

Yeah, John was a fun, nifty guy - as a fellow travel writer I went on several travel press trips with him - we had some big laughs on one to Scotland a few years ago. His outgoing personality and humor, WILL be missed. He was thrilled when I got him and I, a BIZ class upgrade on our flight back to LAX!

Mar. 9, 2014, 7:58:21 am

Chef Harry said...

He was an honost and true man...a rare man and great man. He was a legend in his own right and greatly missed. RIP my great friend.

Mar. 9, 2014, 9:33:37 am

Ann Dandridge said...

RIP John Blanchette I will miss seeing You at my Projects and meeting You at Your Magnificent Events! You're a Fine PR Person! Miss You Much Dear Friend! Ann Dandridge Creator of POWERFUL PEOPLE and FRIENDS

Mar. 9, 2014, 11:36:32 am

Dina said...

Once the shock has worn off from this news, I can finally address this horrible passing of an amazing man. I was introduced to john several years back from a mutual acquaintance and immediately felt like he was someone I had known all my life. he was quiet yet had this unassuming way about him and his truly powerful status in his chosen field. He would send me funny articles on places he knew I craved to go and he had been to, making me feel like I was there and always telling me I was destined for more. On the numerous visits back to SoCal, he was a must see person and he always made sure we met then he would give me his fun behind the scenes tour of "his town", Santa Monica. We were working on something and I wondered why he was AWOL for the last few months -never knowing of his terrible disease.. His privacy was clearly evident as he never mentioned it but instead focused on my disease and projects we were developing. The world is a sadder place without this gentle soul. But don't let that quiet demeanor full you, he was quite cheeky with his commentary which would leave me in tears. sadly the tears I have now are not from laughter but sadness... Farewell my friend -the unofficial "mayor of Santa Monica" Xoxo

Mar. 10, 2014, 8:11:45 pm

gayle thomas said...

My prayers to his friends and family. I saw a post on FB by his dear friend... He had a great career and contributed his many talents in the world of entertainment- Gayle Thomas

Mar. 11, 2014, 10:11:08 am

Tim Carl said...

John was thoughtful, kind and interesting (interested). I was shocked to hear of his passing and echo the many comments that he will be dearly missed. Godspeed my friend.

Mar. 18, 2014, 5:41:35 pm

gerry furth-sides said...

I still wait for the phone to ring every afternoon with John's Main Street report when he was on his beloved daily walk in Santa Monica. He shambled into my life at a food event a few years back, briefcase in hand, and turned out to be everything the well-connected and respected publicist in him promised… a true scholar, talented

Mar. 18, 2014, 5:42:47 pm

gerry furth-sides said...

Brenton, thank you for this sweet notice of someone who considered you such a friend.. Please do announce the celebration of life. We are looking out for it. Thank you.

Nov. 6, 2014, 4:28:59 pm

Marjorie Kinchla Nicholson said...

I am so sorry to read about this news. We all were very close as children. Jackie was an interesting person who had the courage to do it his way!

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