It was a full house at the 2020 Portland SAG Awards viewing party. Photo by Harold Phillips.

On Jan. 19, Portland Local President Michelle Damis welcomed members and guests from all of Portland’s entertainment unions, including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the American Federation of Musicians, to the Lake Theatre and Cafe for the 2020 SAG Awards broadcast. A capacity crowd came together to celebrate each other, the accomplishments of our members nationwide and to honor the life of SAG-AFTRA Local leader Robert Blanche, who died on Jan. 3, after surviving for more than a year following a double lung transplant. 

Oregon state Rep. Margaret Doherty was an honored guest, yet was found handing out SAG-AFTRA swag as she shared stories with other attendees. Doherty, who is retiring from the Oregon Legislature this year, was a key supporter of the creation of the incentive programs that keep Oregon media production thriving. Doherty and her unwavering support of our industry will be missed in state government.

A special moment for Portland members came when they saw Blanche honored in the “In Memoriam” segment of the SAG Awards broadcast. Blanche’s years of service to our union, his mentorship of actors and producers, and his leadership on key issues drew lasting respect, locally and nationally.  

As the broadcast drew to a close, Local Board member Todd A. Robinson and Local Awards Committee member Danny Bruno took the stage to announce a newly created award, the Robert Blanche Service Award. The first of these annual awards was presented to Blanche posthumously and was graciously accepted by his wife Christine. The Portland Local will continue to care for Christine and Robert’s family. They are our own.

Photo: It was a full house at the 2020 Portland SAG Awards viewing party. Photo by Harold Phillips.


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