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
BornSterling Kelby Brown
(1976-04-05) April 5, 1976 (age 42)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materStanford University (BA, 1998)
New York University (MFA)
Years active2001–present
Home townOlivette, Missouri
AwardsFull list

Sterling Kelby Brown (born April 5, 1976)[1] is an American actor. He rose to prominence in 2016 after portraying prosecutor Christopher Darden in the FX drama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. He currently stars as Randall Pearson on the NBC drama This Is Us. The role has earned Brown his second Emmy, in 2017, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series[2] and his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama, as well as his first Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Early life and education[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 and attended Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School.[5] He went on to graduate from Stanford University in 1998 with an acting degree. He initially wanted to work in business but fell in love with acting as a college freshman. Brown then attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he obtained his MFA.[6]


After graduation from college, Brown performed in a series of roles in regional theatre.[7][8][9][10] Brown has also since appeared in numerous television shows including ER, NYPD Blue, JAG, Boston Legal, Alias, Without A Trace, Supernatural, and Third Watch. He was a regular in the comedy Starved and has also appeared in movies, including Stay with Ewan McGregor, Brown Sugar with Taye Diggs and Trust the Man with David Duchovny and Julianne Moore.

He played a recurring character on the television series Supernatural, where he portrayed vampire hunter Gordon Walker. Brown played Dr. Roland Burton on Army Wives. He portrayed Detective Cal Beecher on Person of Interest, 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, for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

Since 2016, he has starred in the television series This Is Us. In 2018, he became the first African-American actor to win a Golden Globe in the best actor in a TV drama category, which he won for This Is Us.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

In June 2018, he gave the commencement address at Stanford University.

Personal life[edit]

In June 2007, he married actress Ryan Michelle Bathe, his college sweetheart. They have two sons.[17][18]



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 Rogers Jon Avnet
2011 Our Idiot Brother Omar Coleman Jesse Peretz
2013 The Suspect The Other Suspect Stuart Connelly
2015 Mojave Detective Fletcher William Monahan Uncredited
2016 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Sgt. 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 Waikiki / Sherman Drew Pearce
The Predator Will Traeger Shane Black
2019 The Angry Birds Movie 2 (voice) Thurop Van Orman In production
The Rhythm Section Reed Morano Post-production
Waves Trey Edward Shults Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2002–04 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 Sgt. 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"
2006–07 Supernatural Gordon Walker 4 episodes
2007 Shark Quenton North Episode: "Teacher's Pet"
Standoff Russell Marsh Episode: "Lie to Me"
2007–13 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"
2012–13 Person of Interest Detective Cal Beecher 6 episodes
2013 NCIS Elijah Banner Episode: "Devil's Triad"
2014 The Mentalist Agent Higgins Episode: "White Lies"
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?"


Year Theater Show Role
2002 Public Theater Delacorte Theater Twelfth Night Antonio
National Actor's Theatre The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui Goodwill
2006 Public Theater Delacorte Theater Macbeth Macduff
2009 Public Theater Anspacher Theater The Brother/Sister Plays Part 1: In The Red and Brown Water Shango
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. ^ "OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES - 2017". Emmys. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Sterling K. Brown Biography". Archived from the original on August 8, 2017. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Stone, Natalie (September 21, 2016). "Sterling K. Brown Reveals Why He Changed His Name As a Teenager". People. Time Inc. Retrieved 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 October 25, 2016.
  6. ^ Shin, Laura (September 2011). "Now Playing". Screen Scene. Stanford Magazine. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  7. ^ Dominguez, Robert (June 20, 2001). "'Colony' Cruel and Unusual". New York Daily News. p. 38.
  8. ^ Otten, Ted (September 19, 2001). "McCarter courts with 'Romeo and Juliet'". The Times". (Trenton, New Jersey).
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Gerteiny, Elizabeth (July 1, 2004). "'Someone' brings intensity, brilliance to stage". The Weston Forum (Weston, Connecticut). p. A15.
  11. ^ "People v. O.J. Simpson Star Sterling K. Brown Chokes Up While Dedicating Emmy to His Late Father". Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  12. ^ "The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui (2002)". Archived from the original on 2006-05-17.
  13. ^ Green, Jesse (October 28, 2014). "Theater Review: Father Comes Home From the Wars". New York.
  14. ^ Respers, Lisa (2018). "Golden Globes 2018: A night of firsts". CNN. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  15. ^ "SAG Awards 2018: Sterling K. Brown makes history again - ABC News". Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  16. ^ "SAG Awards 2018: 'Veep,' 'This Is Us' and 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' win big - ABC News". Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ 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]