Caleb McLaughlin

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Caleb McLaughlin
McLaughlin at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Caleb Reginald McLaughlin

(2001-10-13) October 13, 2001 (age 22)
Years active2012–present

Caleb Reginald McLaughlin[1] (born October 13, 2001)[2] is an American actor. He gained recognition for playing Lucas Sinclair in the Netflix series Stranger Things (2016–present). McLaughlin began his career playing Young Simba in the Broadway musical The Lion King, followed by small roles in television. After his breakthrough with Stranger Things, he appeared in the films High Flying Bird (2019) and Concrete Cowboy (2020), his first starring role in a feature film. His work also includes the miniseries The New Edition Story (2017) and several television voice acting roles.

Early life[edit]

McLaughlin was born on October 13, 2001, in Carmel, New York.[3] He was born to parents April and Corey McLaughlin. He attended Kent Primary School and later attended George Fischer Middle School for one year. He studied dance for a year at Happy Feet Dance School in Carmel, New York and then attended Seven Star School of Performing Arts in Brewster Hill, New York, for one year. He then studied at The Harlem School of the Arts under Aubrey Lynch, former Lion King producer.[4][5] In 2019, he attended his senior prom at Carmel High School as a guest of honor.


McLaughlin's first acting role was as a child in the opera Lost in the Stars in Cooperstown, New York, at the Glimmerglass Opera House. His first starring role was on Broadway as Young Simba in The Lion King musical (2012–14). He then went on to have guest-starring roles in television series such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Unforgettable, Forever, What Would You Do?, and Shades of Blue. In 2016, McLaughlin's breakthrough role came with his portrayal of Lucas Sinclair in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things (2016–present). In 2017, he was a nominee for the BET YoungStars Award, and in 2018 he won Outstanding Performance by a Youth at the NAACP Image Awards.[6] In 2020, McLaughlin made his feature film debut in Concrete Cowboy, along with costars Idris Elba and Jharrel Jerome.[7][8] The movie received mixed reviews. In December 2020, McLaughlin was included as an honoree in Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2021 list in the field of Hollywood and Entertainment.[9] On January 8, 2024 it was announced that McLaughlin was set to feature in a biopic about British-American rap artist 21 Savage, alongside Donald Glover and Savage himself; McLaughlin was expected to play a younger version of 21 Savage.[10] On January 24, Savage revealed that the biopic's announcement was actually a "parody", though he noted that "it could be [a real movie] one day".[11]


McLaughlin has spearheaded the social media campaigns #EmbraceYourFace and #BeYourBiggestFan, promoting healthy body image, positivity and self-esteem.[6] McLaughlin has stated: "Feeling good about yourself is healthy. It always starts with you first, before it goes to anyone else... You have to learn to love and appreciate yourself and take that time to do it."[6] In 2020, McLaughlin also encouraged people to vote in the 2020 US presidential election, posting a video on his official Instagram account with links to the non-profit organization[12]

McLaughlin has opened up about the microaggressions he experienced as the only black actor in the main cast of Stranger Things, stating "My very first Comic-Con, some people didn't stand in my line because I was black...Sometimes overseas you feel the racism, you feel the bigotry. Sometimes it's hard to talk about and for people to understand, but when I was younger it definitely affected me a lot."[13][14]

Acting credits[edit]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2012 Noah Dreams of Origami Fortunes Noah Short film [15]
2019 High Flying Bird Darius [16]
2020 Concrete Cowboy Coltrane “Cole”
2023 Shooting Stars Dru Joyce III [17]
The Book of Clarence Dirty Zeke [18]
TBA The Deliverance TBA Post-production [19]


Year Title Role Notes
2013 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Kid Episode: "Born Psychopath"
Unforgettable Older Brother Episode: "New Hundred"
2014 Forever Alejandro Episode: "The Pugilist Break"
2015 What Would You Do? Foster Child Season 10; Episode 2
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Himself Episode: "District of Columbia"
2016 Shades of Blue Jay-Jay 3 episodes
Blue Bloods Tony Lane Episode: "For the Community"
2016–present Stranger Things Lucas Sinclair Main role
2017 The New Edition Story Ricky Bell (age 13) 3 episodes
Lip Sync Battle Himself Episode: "The Cast of Stranger Things"
2018 Final Space Young Gary (voice) Episode: "Chapter 4"
2018–2021 Summer Camp Island Ghost (voice) 4 episodes
2021 Ultra City Smiths Trevor Johnson (voice) 6 episodes
2022 The Boys Presents: Diabolical Mo-Slo (voice) Episode: "An Animated Short Where Pissed-Off Supes Kill Their Parents"


Year Title Role Venue Notes Ref.
2012, 2016 Lost in the Stars Alex Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera [20][21]
2012–14 The Lion King Young Simba Minskoff Theatre Broadway replacement [22]
2015 The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek Bokkie Pershing Square Signature Center Off-Broadway [23]

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Ref.
2012 "Still Standing" (feat. Jill Scott) Pharoche Monch [24]
2017 "Santa's Coming For Us" Sia [25]
2021 “Neighborhood” Caleb Mclaughlin [26]
2022 “Soul Travel” Caleb Mclaughlin [27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2017 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Digital TV Series or Film – Teen Actor Stranger Things Nominated [28]
2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won [29]
2017 BET Awards YoungStars Award Nominated [30]
2018 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited Series) Won [31]
2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [32]
2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best On-Screen Team (with Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp and Sadie Sink) Nominated [33]
2019 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Star Nominated [34]
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer TV Actor Nominated [35]
2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [36]
2021 Black Reel Awards Outstanding Male Breakthrough Performance Concrete Cowboy Nominated [37]


  1. ^ "Sean Hayes/Stranger Things Kids/Sheryl Crow". The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Season 15. Episode 37. 25 October 2017.
  2. ^ Terry, Sarah (October 13, 2016). "The kids of "Stranger Things" wishing Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) a happy birthday is pure #friendshipgoals". HelloGiggles.
  3. ^ "Caleb McLaughlin Biography, Celebrity Facts and Awards". TV Guide. August 20, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  4. ^ Silva, Tiffany (January 10, 2017). "CALEB MCLAUGHLIN IS HAVING A GREAT START TO 2017". Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  5. ^ Cabiles, Janroe (July 7, 2017). "Caleb McLaughlin: Stranger Stages". Archived from the original on September 16, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Riddell, Rose (2019-06-28). "Interview: Caleb McLaughlin on 'Stranger Things' and embracing your face". Coup De Main Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  7. ^ "Stranger Things Star Caleb McLaughlin Is All Grown Up In This Gritty Western". Archived from the original on 2020-09-25. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  8. ^ "Netflix Picks Up Idris Elba-Caleb McLaughlin Drama 'Concrete Cowboy' (Exclusive) | Hollywood Reporter". 26 October 2020. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  9. ^ "Caleb McLaughlin". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  10. ^ ROSSIGNOL, DERRICK. "21 Savage And Donald Glover Tease A New Biopic, 'American Dream: The 21 Savage Story,' And It's Coming Soon". Uproxx. Retrieved 8 January 2024.
  11. ^ Singh, Karan (January 24, 2024). "21 SAVAGE ADMITS 'AMERICAN DREAM' BIOPIC IS A 'PARODY' & ISN'T COMING OUT". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on January 25, 2024. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  12. ^ "Stranger Things' Caleb Mclaughlin Encourages Fans to Vote". Sada El balad. 2020-10-26. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  13. ^ "Caleb McLaughlin on racism from 'Stranger Things' fans: 'It took a toll on me'". New York Post. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  14. ^ "Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin speaks about racism from fans". BBC. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  15. ^ "Noah Dreams of Origami Fortunes (2012)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  16. ^ Whitney, Oliver (2019-01-17). "Steven Soderbergh is back behind the iPhone in Netflix's High Flying Bird trailer". The AV Club. Retrieved 2022-09-12.
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (2022-05-13). "High School Basketball Star Mookie Cook to Play Young LeBron James in Drama 'Shooting Stars' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  18. ^ Kit, Borys (December 5, 2022). "Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, RJ Cyler, Anna Diop Join Jeymes Samuel's Book of Clarence (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  19. ^ Appleton, Rory. "Netflix film based on famed Indiana 'Demon House' exorcism has cast, title". IndyStar. Retrieved 2022-09-12.
  20. ^ "Lost in the Stars at Glimmerglass". DC Theatre Scene. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  21. ^ "Review: Washington National Opera Takes On A Bit of Broadway With LOST IN THE STARS". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Caleb McLaughlin". Playbill. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  23. ^ Isherwood, Charles (May 11, 2015). "Review: 'The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek,' an Athol Fugard Play". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  24. ^ @pharoahemonch (July 4, 2019). "Stranger Things - Caleb McLaughlin - as Young Pharoahe..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ "Watch the It and Stranger Things kids dance in Sia's new music video". NME. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  26. ^ "Stranger Things Star Caleb McLaughlin Drops His Debut Single Neighborhood". AllHipHop. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  27. ^ "Caleb McLaughlin Releases New Song Soul Travel and Talks Stranger Things Coming to an End". Complex. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  28. ^ "38th Annual Awards". Young Artist Association. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  29. ^ Nolfi, Joely (14 December 2016). "SAG Awards nominations 2017: See the full list". Entertainment Weekly.
  30. ^ "Youngstars Award". BET Awards. June 25, 2017.
  31. ^ "Early winners at the 49th NAACP Image Awards". The Washington Post. 15 January 2018. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  32. ^ Gonzalez, Sandra (17 January 2018). "The full list of the 2018 SAG Awards nominees". CNN. CNN. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  33. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (May 3, 2018). "MTV Movie & TV Awards: 'Black Panther,' 'Stranger Things' Top Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  34. ^ Howard, Annie (February 26, 2019). "Kids' Choice Awards: 'Avengers: Infinity War' Tops Nominees; DJ Khaled to Host". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  35. ^ Swift, Andy (8 July 2019). "Teen Choice Awards: Stranger Things Leads Final Wave of 2019 Nominations". TVLine. Archived from the original on 8 July 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  36. ^ "SAG Award Nominations: The Complete List". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  37. ^ "Harder Makes It Look Easy with 20 Black Reel Award Nominations". Black Reel Awards. Retrieved 2022-09-13.

External links[edit]