John Branca’s affinity for entertainers begins with his mother, Barbara Werle, a Harvest Moon Ball winner who danced on the Ed Sullivan Show. When she moved from Mount Vernon, New York to Los Angeles to pursue her career, John, four, lived with his father, also named John, who served as New York State Athletic Commissioner.
Upon turning 11, Branca re-joined his mother in Los Angeles, and two years later formed and played guitar for The Other Half. Too young to tour, he formed a new band, Pasternak Progress, which landed regular gigs at the Hullabaloo Club, and occasionally opened for The Doors. They later signed a recording contract with Original Sound Records. One of their recordings was recently featured on a new Rhino Records release.
After majoring in music at Los Angeles City College, Branca transferred to Occidental College, where he majored in political science and graduated cum laude and with honors. Branca attended UCLA School of Law, served as editor-in-chief of one of the law journals, and graduated in 1975. He was named UCLA Law School Alumnus of the Year for 2010, and has similarly been awarded “Alumnus of the Year” honors at Occidental College and UCLA School of Law.
He joined the law firm of Kindel & Anderson as an estate planner, until he read an Elton John profile in Time Magazine which turned him on to the field of entertainment law.
John’s uncle, Ralph Branca was a three-time All-Star starting pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and pitched in two World Series. He was a teammate of Jackie Robinson and is both featured in the movie “42” and served as a consultant.
He is currently co-executor of the Michael Jackson Estate.
John is engaged to Jenna Nicole Hurt (see “Personal” page).