Sterling K. Brown

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Sterling K. Brown
Sterling K. Brown by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Brown at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con
Sterling Kelby Brown

(1976-04-05) April 5, 1976 (age 45)
Years active2001–present
(m. 2007)
AwardsFull list

Sterling Kelby Brown (born April 5, 1976)[1] is an American actor. He has portrayed Christopher Darden in the FX limited series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016) and, as of 2016, stars as Randall Pearson in the NBC drama series This Is Us (2016–present). Both roles have earned him Primetime Emmy Awards and the latter also won him a Golden Globe Award. Brown has also played supporting roles in the films Black Panther (2018) and Waves (2019), and recently appeared on the Amazon Prime original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

He has also voiced characters in The Angry Birds Movie 2 and Frozen II (both 2019).

Brown was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2018.[2]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in 1976 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Sterling Brown[1] and Aralean Banks Brown. Brown is one of five children; he has two sisters and two brothers.[3] His father died when Brown was 10 years old.[4] As a child, he went by the name Kelby; when he turned 16 he adopted the name Sterling, explaining in 2016,

I went by Kelby. My mom tells me this story – she was reiterating it the other day – in kindergarten I came home one day and said, 'Mom, Sterling is eight letters and Kelby is five. I'll just do Kelby and then when I turn 16, I will go by Sterling.' And I don't remember that. The impetus for me is that he had been gone for some time, and I was like, 'Kelby was a little boy's name.' I felt like I was ready to become Sterling.[4]

Brown grew up in Olivette, Missouri, an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis - located in St. Louis, County, and attended Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School.[5]

Brown graduated from Stanford University in 1998 with an acting degree. He initially wanted to major in economics so he could work in business, but he fell in love with acting as a college freshman.[6] Brown then attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree.[7]


After graduating from college, Brown performed in a series of roles in regional theater.[8][9][10][11][12] Brown has also since appeared in numerous television shows including ER, NYPD Blue,[6] JAG, Boston Legal, Alias, Without a Trace, Supernatural,[13] and Third Watch.[14] Brown was a regular in the comedy Starved,[15] and has also appeared in movies, including Stay with Ewan McGregor, Brown Sugar with Taye Diggs,[16] and Trust the Man with David Duchovny and Julianne Moore.[17]

Brown played a recurring character on the television series Supernatural, where he portrayed vampire hunter Gordon Walker.[18] Brown played Dr. Roland Burton on Army Wives.[19] He portrayed Detective Cal Beecher on Person of Interest,[20] while also appearing on the show Medium. In 2008, he played David Mosley on the "Patience" episode of Eli Stone. In 2016, Brown starred in the FX miniseries The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as Christopher Darden,[21] for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards.[22]

In the theater, Brown was cast in the 2002 production of Bertolt Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui starring Al Pacino, Paul Giamatti, Steve Buscemi, John Goodman and Jacqueline McKenzie.[23] In 2014, he starred as Hero in Suzan-Lori Parks' Odyssey-inspired play Father Comes Home From the Wars at New York's Public Theater.[24][25] Brown also starred in the 2014 movie The Suspect with Mekhi Phifer.[26]

Since 2016, Brown has starred in the television series This Is Us.[27][28] In 2018, he became the first African-American actor to win a Golden Globe in the best actor in a television drama category, which he won for This Is Us.[29] That same year he also became the first African-American actor to win a Screen Actors Guild Award in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series category, also for This Is Us, and appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Panther as N'Jobu.[30] He also was part of that year's Screen Actors Guild Award win for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, again for This Is Us.[31]

In June 2018, Brown gave the commencement address at Stanford University.[32] Brown also appeared as a guest star in the NYPD sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and earned critical acclaim for his role as Philip Davidson, a dentist under investigation for murdering his business partner. He was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 2018 for this performance.

In August 2019, Brown was announced at D23 Expo and on Twitter as the voice of Lieutenant Destin Mattias in Frozen II.[33][34][35]

Personal life[edit]

In June 2007, Brown married actress Ryan Michelle Bathe, whom he met as a college freshman at Stanford.[6] They have two sons.[36][37]



Year Title Role Director Notes
2002 Brown Sugar Co-Worker Rick Famuyiwa
2005 Trust the Man Rand Bart Freundlich
Stay Frederick / Devon Marc Forster
2008 Righteous Kill IA Detective Rogers Jon Avnet
2011 Our Idiot Brother Officer Omar Coleman Jesse Peretz
2013 The Suspect The Other Suspect Stuart Connelly
2015 Mojave Detective Fletcher William Monahan Uncredited
2016 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Sergeant Hurd Glenn Ficarra
John Requa
Spaceman Rodney Scott Brett Rapkin
2017 Marshall Joseph Spell Reginald Hudlin
2018 Black Panther N'Jobu Ryan Coogler
Hotel Artemis Sherman / Waikiki Drew Pearce
The Predator Agent Will Traeger Shane Black
2019 The Angry Birds Movie 2 Garry Thurop Van Orman Voice
Waves Ronald Williams Trey Edward Shults
Frozen II Lieutenant Destin Mattias Jennifer Lee
Chris Buck
2020 The Rhythm Section Marc Serra Reed Morano
TBA Rise Willie Davis Kevin Rodney Sullivan


Year Title Role Notes
2002–2004 Third Watch Officer Edward Dade 9 episodes
2003 Hack Rasheed Morgan Episode: "Hidden Agenda"
Tarzan Detective Carey 2 episodes
2004 ER Bob Harris Episode: "Get Carter"
NYPD Blue Kelvin George Episode: "Chatty Chatty Bang Bang"
JAG Sergeant Harry Smith Episode: "Coming Home"
2005 Boston Legal Zeke Borns Episode: "Death Be Not Proud"
Starved Adam Williams 7 episodes
2006 Alias Agent Rance Episode: "There's Only One Sidney Bristow"
Smith Mr. Corey Episode: "Three"
Without a Trace Thomas Biggs Episode: "Watch Over Me"
2006–2007 Supernatural Gordon Walker 4 episodes
2007 Shark Quenton North Episode: "Teacher's Pet"
Standoff Russell Marsh Episode: "Lie to Me"
2007–2013 Army Wives Roland Burton 107 episodes
2008 Eli Stone David Mosley Episode: "Patience"
2010 Medium Todd Gillis Episode: "The People in Your Neighborhood"
2011 Detroit 1-8-7 Cameron Jones Episode: "Ice Man/Malibu"
The Good Wife Andrew Boylan Episode: "Feeding the Rat"
Harry's Law Mr. Thomas Episode: "American Girl"
2012 Nikita Nick Anson Episode: "True Believer"
2012–2013 Person of Interest Detective Cal Beecher 6 episodes
2013 NCIS Elijah Banner Episode: "Devil's Triad"
2014 The Mentalist Agent Higgins Episode: "White Lines"
Masters of Sex Marcus Episode: "Story of My Life"
2015 Castle Ed Redley Episode: "The Wrong Stuff"
Criminal Minds Fitz Episode: "Beyond Borders"
2016 The People v. O. J. Simpson:
American Crime Story
Christopher Darden 10 episodes
2016–Present This Is Us Randall Pearson Main role
2017 Insecure Lionel 2 episodes
Running Wild with Bear Grylls Himself Episode: "Sterling K. Brown"
2018 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: "Sterling K. Brown/James Bay"
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Philip Davidson Episode: "The Box"
Black Love Himself 2 episodes
Robot Chicken Various voices Episode: "Shall I Visit the Dinosaurs?"
2019 The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience Sia TV special
Sesame Street Himself Episode: "Sesame Street 50th Anniversary"
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Reggie 4 episodes
2019–2020 One Day at Disney Narrator 52 episodes
2020 Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Lio Oak (voice) Main role
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote Leo McGarry Recreation of "Hartsfield's Landing"
Big Mouth Michael Angelo (voice) Season 4, Recurring role
2021 Solar Opposites Halk (voice) 4 episodes

Music videos[edit]

Year Artist Title Role
2019 The Lonely Island (feat. Sia) "Oakland Nights" Sia


Year Show Role Theater
2002 Twelfth Night Antonio Public Theater Delacorte Theater
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui Goodwill National Actor's Theatre
2006 Macbeth Macduff Public Theater Delacorte Theater
2009 The Brother/Sister Plays Part 1: In The Red and Brown Water Shango Public Theater Anspacher Theater
The Brother/Sister Plays Part 2: The Brothers Size and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet Shua
2014 Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3) Hero/Ulysses

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sterling K. Brown: Television Actor, Film Actor (1976–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Sterling K. Brown: The World's 100 Most Influential People". Time. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "Sterling K. Brown Biography". Archived from the original on August 8, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Stone, Natalie (September 21, 2016). "Sterling K. Brown Reveals Why He Changed His Name As a Teenager". People. Time Inc. Retrieved on October 8, 2016.
  5. ^ Pennington, Gail (February 2, 2016). "St. Louisan relives Simpson trial in 'People v. O.J.'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Lee Enterprises. Retrieved on October 25, 2016..
  6. ^ a b c Pennington, Gail (August 18, 2005). "At Country Day, Brown exited stage right into acting". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. F1 – via (subscription required)
  7. ^ Shin, Laura (September 2011). "Now Playing". Screen Scene. Stanford Magazine. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  8. ^ Dominguez, Robert (June 20, 2001). "'Colony' Cruel and Unusual". New York Daily News. p. 38 – via (subscription required)
  9. ^ Otten, Ted (September 19, 2001). "McCarter courts with 'Romeo and Juliet'". The Times. (Trenton, New Jersey).
  10. ^ Kilpatrick, Gloria M. (June 3, 2002). "Hangar Opens Season with Powerful 'Topdog': The Play Explores the Relationship of Two Brothers Struggling to Get By". The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York). p. 18.
  11. ^ Gerteiny, Elizabeth (July 1, 2004). "'Someone' brings intensity, brilliance to stage". The Weston Forum (Weston, Connecticut). p. A15.
  12. ^ De La Vina, Mark (September 9, 1997). "Survival and the Blues in Drama of 1930 Harlem". The Mercury News (San Jose, California). p.1E.
  13. ^ "Best Bets". American Press (Lake Charles, Louisiana). October 6, 2006. p. 63.
  14. ^ "'Starved' finds comedy in eating disorders". The York Dispatch (York, Pennsylvania). August 3, 2005.
  15. ^ Moore, Frazier (August 2, 2005). "'Starved' Finds Laughs in Eating Disorders". Associated Press.
  16. ^ Thompson, Kevin D. (June 3, 2007). "'Army Wives' Recruiting Audience". The Palm Beach Post (TV Post). Palm Beach, Florida. p. 3 – via (subscription required)
  17. ^ Davis, Sandi (September 1, 2006). "Couple troubles create laughs and drama in 'Trust the Man'". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. p. 7D. (subscription required)
  18. ^ "TV Watch". Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Massachusetts). October 12, 2006.
  19. ^ "Lifetime to deploy ‘Army Wives'". Ventura County Star (Ventura, California). December 7, 2006.
  20. ^ "Review: Reese and Finch find The Person of Interest 'In Extremis'". Columbus Examiner (Columbus, Ohio). April 26, 2013.
  21. ^ "In the Spotlight: FX's 'American Crime Story'. Dramatizes the O.J. Simpson Trial". The Newport Daily Express (Newport, Vermont). p. 11.
  22. ^ "People v. O.J. Simpson Star Sterling K. Brown Chokes Up While Dedicating Emmy to His Late Father. People. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  23. ^ Isherwood, Charles (October 21, 2002). "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui". Variety.
  24. ^ Green, Jesse (October 28, 2014). "Theater Review: Father Comes Home From the Wars". New York.
  25. ^ Feldberg, Robert (October 29, 2014). "A Slave's Odyssey in Three Acts". Herald News (Woodland Park, New Jersey). p. D1.
  26. ^ Longsdorf, Amy (April 25, 2014). "New on DVD This Week: April 25". Herald News (Woodland Park, New Jersey). p. D4.
  27. ^ Pennington, Gail (May 15, 2016). "NBC finalizes fall schedule with three new series". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  28. ^ "OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES - 2017". Emmys. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  29. ^ Respers, Lisa (2018). "Golden Globes 2018: A night of firsts". CNN. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  30. ^ "SAG Awards 2018: Sterling K. Brown makes history again". ABC News. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  31. ^ "SAG Awards 2018: 'Veep,' 'This Is Us' and 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' win big". ABC News. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  32. ^ "'This is Us' star Sterling K. Brown delivers Stanford University commencement". USA Today. June 17, 2018.
  33. ^ Disney's Frozen 2 [@DisneyFrozen] (August 24, 2019). "Just Announced: @SterlingKBrown (Lieutenant Matthias) and @EvanRachelWood (Queen Iduna) have joined the cast of #Frozen2, coming to theaters November 22. #D23Expo" (Tweet). Retrieved August 27, 2019 – via Twitter.
  34. ^ Sterling K Brown [@SterlingKBrown] (August 27, 2019). "Lieutenant Destin Mattias reporting for duty! Excited to finally share with you that I'll be joining the coolest crew for #Frozen2" (Tweet). Retrieved August 27, 2019 – via Twitter.
  35. ^ Lee, Jennifer [@alittlejelee] (August 29, 2019). "Many have been asking me about spelling and title. Meet Lieutenant Destin Mattias" (Tweet). Retrieved August 30, 2019 – via Twitter.
  36. ^ Porter, Lauren (September 19, 2016). "6 Things To Know About Sterling K. Brown And His Wife Ryan Michelle Bathe Love Story". Essence. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  37. ^ Barney, Chuck (March 9, 2017). "'This Is Us': Former Bay Area resident Sterling K. Brown feels 'blessed beyond words'". The Mercury News. Digital First Media. Archived from the original on September 16, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2017.

External links[edit]