Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Oregon’s Union Movement is saddened by the loss of former Portland SAG-AFTRA President Robert Blanche, who passed away on Friday, January 3rd.
Robert Blache’s headshot, courtesy of SAG-AFTRA Portland.
Michelle Damis, President of the Portland SAG-AFTRA Local, memorized Robert’s legacy in a statement earlier this week:
It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of the passing of former Portland Local President, Local Board member, and my friend Robert Blanche on Jan. 3. As an actor, some of Robert’s body of work included appearances in Portlandia, Grimm, Leverage and Men of Honor. As anyone who knew him can attest, Robert was a man of honor. He loved his family, friends, and deeply believed in fairness and justice for all actors and broadcasters — so much so that he was willing to devote significant amounts of time to union service for the benefit of his fellow members and he never stopped fighting. Robert joined the union in 1995 and served as SAG Branch president pre-merger and SAG-AFTRA Local president from 2017–2019. In addition to his work locally, he served as vice-chair of the National SAGindie Committee from 2007 to 2008 and, since 1996, he also served as either a member or alternate of the TV/Theatrical, Low Budget, and Agency committees. That long record of service has had a profound impact on the lives of fellow SAG-AFTRA members, both directly and indirectly. My condolences to his family, friends, and all his union comrades who have suffered this loss. He will be deeply missed.
Graham Trainor, Oregon AFL-CIO President, expressed our State Federation’s condolences for Robert’s family during this difficult time:
Oregon’s unions are saddened to hear of the passing of former Portland SAG-AFTRA President Robert Blanche. Robert was a dedicated unionist, a talented actor, and a man who will be missed greatly by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts are with his family and those close to him during this difficult time.
Robert Blanche speaking at the Oregon AFL-CIO Convention in Bend in 2017.
The Portland SAG AFTRA local has invited all union members to attend the 2020 SAG Awards viewing party which will be in honor of the memory of Robert, here are the details for the event:
Please join the Portland Local as we "Celebrate SAG-AFTRA Solidarity" and honor the memory of former Portland Local President Robert Blanche at our 2020 SAG Awards viewing party! Dress in your best “Northwest festive” attire to celebrate our union members' achievements and remember a man whose leadership and vision profoundly affected us all. Immediately following the telecast, the Portland Local has a special surprise in honor of Robert you won't want to miss!
Sunday, January 19, 2020, the doors will open at 4:00 PM, at The Lake Theatre and Cafe; 106 N. State St., Lake Oswego, OR 97034. The Awards broadcast starts at 5:00 PM. Admission is free to Paid-up union members (SAG-AFTRA and any OR AFL-CIO affiliated union), and their guests (up to 5) may attend for $10. Appetizers will be provided; no-host bar and Lake Cafe menu available.