Jean Louisa Kelly
Jean Louisa Kelly cannot simply be defined by her impressive resume. Her extraordinary career has captivated audiences throughout the years and her work continues to prove her place as a remarkable figure in Hollywood.
A native of Central Massachusetts, Jean began her career in New England, performing in community theatre and playing the title role in “Annie” in summer stock at Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck, Rhode Island. She studied voice, ballet, tap and jazz dance as a child and got her big break when she was 14 years old, moving to New York City to play Snow White in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”
When she was 17, she got another huge break playing Tia, the bratty teenage niece opposite John Candy in “Uncle Buck” -- a film directed by the legendary John Hughes. After shooting, she took time off to earn a BA in English at Columbia College in New York City.
Upon graduating, she was cast as the young songstress Rowena Morgan opposite Richard Dreyfuss in “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” She subsequently played Luisa opposite Joe McIntyre and Joel Grey in the film version of “The Fantasticks,” enabling her to show the world her incredible musical theatre skills at a time when very few musical movies were being made.
Jean soon found her way to the West Coast to star in the NBC dramedy “Cold Feet.” The show was short-lived, but she quickly made a deal with CBS resulting in an iconic six years of playing the smart and sassy Kim Warner in the long running sitcom “Yes, Dear.”
During her years on “Yes, Dear,” Jean had a son, and became a working mother. Shortly after the show ended, she gave birth to her daughter and in due course devoted herself to motherhood, taking guest star roles, short-term movie commitments, and continuing to perform onstage at benefits and cabarets.
While raising her children, Jean made her first foray into musical composition with her album “Color of Your Heart,” which was inspired by Marlo Thomas’ “Free to Be, You and Me.” Produced by Heather Reid, it is a group of original songs for kids of all ages that are each an expression of feelings, solutions and the process of growing up.
Taking her musical talents to the next level, Jean released her first EP, “Willing,” in 2015 – a collection of original songs about growth, transformation and intimacy.
Since this last EP, Jean has kept busy by returning to her acting roots. She worked on an independent film called “Last Days of Summer,” starring William Fichtner in which she played his wife, and another independent called “Out of the Wild,” starring John Diehl. More recently, she had a role in the film, “The Bachelors,” starring J.K. Simmons, as well as a guest spot on “Scream Queens.”
Now, Jean’s music is taking the front seat again. She just released her sophomore EP titled “Relax, Nothing is Under Control” – a collection of songs that Jean describes as being “much more eclectic” than “Willing.” She says, “There is not one song that is similar to the next in this group, they are truly all different genres and styles.”
The inspiration for the EP came to Jean in a number of ways – from an overflow of feelings looking for an outlet, to ideas that came to her while meditating – she has created a body of music that is both unique and vocally charming.
While each song is extremely personal to Jean, “The House Next Door to Me,” is particularly special, as it is a song that came to her from a dream. She describes the process of writing her music as something that takes a lot of courage, but that sharing her craft with the world, while scary at times, is beyond rewarding. Through it all, Jean has stuck by music even when she has felt overwhelmed by motherhood – a challenge that has given her a creative purpose and genuine feeling of pride.