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.