John Blanchette, Publicist, Travel Writer and TV Producer, Dies at 68

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John M. (Jack) Blanchette Jr., the publicist for Zsa Zsa Gabor for 30 years, died Tuesday, March 4, at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, after a brief battle with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a form of Leukemia. He was 68.

Blanchette was the president and owner of Blanchette & Associates Public Relations in Santa Monica. He had worked in entertainment and corporate publicity for more than three decades, and for the past 15 years, he had also written travel, wine and food features for Copley and Creators news syndicates.

In addition to Gabor, Blanchette worked with Ned Beatty, Delta Burke, Cary Grant, Valerie Harper, Bob Hope, Michael Jackson and Debbie Reynolds, among others. He represented the Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors and promoted films including “Argo,” “Behind the Candelabra,” “Il Postino,” and “L.A. Confidential.” He also did stints in the publicity offices of Fox TV, KCBS and New World Pictures.

His charitable work included the Actors Fund.

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. He spent six years at Boston College, earning a master’s in English literature; he also earned a masters in Anglo-Irish Studies at University/Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and a degree in college administration from Indiana University.

Survivors include six brothers and two sisters.

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  1. I met John back in the 80’s when touring the home show circuit. For many years John would call me asking what kind of theme I would be bringing to the show(s) and he’d make sure press releases would get out then connect me with the television shows and news stations that picked up the story. It was rare when someone didn’t pick up the story he would write.

    Back in the 90’s John wrote about me the following: “With a foot-long beard and an equally outrageous personality…” to wit is still used to this day in my bio.

    John was a good friend, a mild mannered man and gentleman. We kept in touch with at least one email every other month. I spoke with him last in January.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Blanchette…rest in peace.

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