Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Kelley Jakle, Actress and Singer/Songwriter -- The Great-Granddaughter of Branch Rickey

 Kelley Jakle

Branch Rickey received much of his early education in Lucasville schools, later stating Valley High School was his “alma mater.” This small town's claim to fame is not forgotten. Branch Rickey remains a giant figure not only in professional baseball but also in the civil rights movement. Now, let's fast forward a few generations to a new celebrity in the Rickey lineage – Branch's great-granddaughter, Kelley Alice Jakle.

Kelley Alice Jakle is an American actress and singer-songwriter best known for her role as Jessica in Pitch Perfect (2012), and its two sequels Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) and Pitch Perfect 3 (2017). She is also known for her appearances on the first and second seasons of The Sing-Off in 2009 and 2010.

Jakle was born June 27, 1989, in Carmichael, California. Kelley is the daughter of Cynthia Houghton (Dunning) and Christopher/Christop Jakle. Kelley’s parents have English, German, and Irish roots. She has two older brothers and is the only girl in her family. Kelley’s paternal grandmother was Mabel Alice Rickey (the daughter of Branch Rickey and Jane Moulton). Branch was the son of Jacob Frank Rickey and Emily Brown, and Jane was the daughter of Chandler Julius Moulton and Mary Celia Smith.

While growing up, Kelley always enjoyed playing soccer, basketball, swimming, and “being a tomboy with her big brothers,” but she discovered her true calling when she starred as a Fuzzy Caterpillar in her 3rd grade play.

Jakle was active in music from an early age, performing as part of the Sacramento Children's Chorus, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events (including a San Francisco 49ers game in 2006 and a Los Angeles Dodgers game in 2013 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day), and auditioning for the singing contest American Idol. Jakle began writing music in 2003, her freshman year of high school, accompanying herself on the piano. By her junior year she had produced her first self-titled CD, containing five completely original songs.

After graduating from Loretto High School, Kelley attended the University of Southern California, where she majored in communications. In 2007, Jakle joined the USC a cappella group the “SoCal VoCals.” During her tenure in the SoCal VoCals, the group won the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella in 2008 and again in 2010.

In 2009, Jakle took part in season one of The Sing-Off, a singing competition televised on NBC, as part of a group called "The SoCals". The SoCals were eliminated in the third episode. In 2010, Jakle again competed on The Sing-Off, this time as part of "The Backbeats.” The Backbeats finished the contest in third place.


While attending USC, Kelley joined the band, “By the Way” as lead vocalist. Other band members included Matt Santinello (Guitar/Vocals), Cody Oswalt (Bass), and John Farrace (Drums). The band released a self-titled extended play in 2007. During her junior year, Jakle released a solo extended play, “Spare Change,” featuring a mix of produced and acoustic tracks.

Jakle's style, though labeled "Pop,” is described by critics as “unique.” Drawing from such inspirations as Andrew McMahon, Michelle Branch, Patti Griffin, and Sheryl Crow, Kelley blends “her passionate piano playing with soulful vocal melodies to produce a sound all her own.”

After graduating with honors from college, Kelley remained in Los Angeles adding network TV appearances along with major feature films to her growing list of credits. She began working as an actress in Los Angeles. Her first film role was as Jessica in the 2012 musical comedy Pitch Perfect, with Jakle being chosen as a "ringer" due to her background in a cappella. 


In 2013, Jakle appeared in 42, the biographical film about baseball legend Jackie Robinson co-starring Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. In 42, she played the role of Alice. Jakle reprised her role as Jessica in Pitch Perfect 2 in 2015 and Pitch Perfect 3 in 2017. She also made an appearance on the Comedy Central television series "Workaholics." Kelley also released several singles in 2013, including a cover of "Ain't It Fun" by Paramore.

On July 29, 2016, Kelley originated the role of Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn! The New Musical at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. The musical Marilyn! chronicles the star's childhood and tumultuous path to stardom. Set in the present day, the story follows Michelle, a young journalist from England researching Marilyn Monroe to commemorate the actress' 90th birthday. She visits Charlie Page, one of Marilyn's drivers, who is now living a life of solitude. Two stories emerge as Charlie bonds with Michelle and he recalls Marilyn Monroe's life in flashback and reveals the real reason behind his living as a recluse for over 40 years.

The cast stars Jakle as Marilyn Monroe, Kelley Dorney (PBS Concert Special A Tale of Two Cities) as Norma Jeane, and Samantha Stewart (Days of Our Lives) as Michelle Morgan.

In 2017, Kelley became a member of the “7th Ave.” band, a group of vocalists brought together in 2016 by Chris Rupp, the founder of Home Free. The website says: “Combining elements of pop, swing, rockabilly, country, and much more, 7th Ave is aiming to reinvent and uproot the standard definitions of all of those genres through our innovative arrangements and fun music videos.”

Kelley has also made appearances on Comedy Central's "Workaholics" and "Adam Devine's House Party."

Jakle is an ambassador for ReACT, a movement in Montana that encourages teenagers not to smoke. She talks about how living a healthy lifestyle has helped her follow her dreams. Kelly is part of the "Lead by Example and Be Tobacco Free" movement.

Kelley has been in a couple of relationships that have come to media attention. First was with her Pitch Perfect co-star Adam DeVine. Their relationship ended in 2015. Jakle soon began flaunting her new flame on Instagram. That new guy is Days of Our Lives alum Mark Hapka.

I hope you follow the career of Rickey's talented great-granddaughter. Kelley Jakle has established herself as both an accomplished actress and a musician. A beautiful lady still in her 30s, she is making quite a name for herself. Watch for her performances and enjoy her talent. Find her digital music on Amazon. Click here for more information:


“7th Ave.”

Hayley Levitt. “Marilyn Monroe Musical to Offer One-Night-Only World Premiere.” Los Angeles. July19, 2016.

“Kelley Jakle Bio/Wiki.”

“Kelley Jakle.”

“Kelley Jakle.”

“Kelley Jakle.”

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