Sterling K. Brown

Sterling K. Brown
Born Sterling Kelby Brown
(1976-04-05) April 5, 1976
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater Stanford University (BA, 1998)
New York University (MFA)
Occupation Actor
Years active 2001–present
Home town Olivette, Missouri
Children 2
Awards Full list

Sterling Kelby Brown (born April 5, 1976)[1] is an American actor. He starred as prosecutor Christopher Darden in the FX drama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award. He currently stars as Randall Pearson on the NBC drama This Is Us. The role garnered Brown his second Emmy award, in 2017, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series[2] and his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a 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

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 appeared 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.[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

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



2002Brown SugarCo-workerRick Famuyiwa
2005Trust the ManRandBart Freundlich
StayFrederick / DevonMarc Forster
2008Righteous KillRogersJon Avnet
2011Our Idiot BrotherOmar ColemanJesse Peretz
2013The SuspectThe Other SuspectStuart Connelly
2015MojaveDetective FletcherWilliam MonahanUncredited
2016Whiskey Tango FoxtrotSgt. HurdGlenn Ficarra
John Requa
SpacemanRodney ScottBrett Rapkin
2017MarshallJoseph SpellReginald Hudlin
2018Black PantherN'JobuRyan Coogler
Hotel ArtemisWaikiki / ShermanDrew Pearce
The PredatorWill TraegerShane BlackPost-production
2019The Angry Birds Movie 2(voice)Thurop Van OrmanIn production
The Rhythm SectionReed MoranoPost-production
Frozen 2(voice)Chris Buck
Jennifer Lee
In production
WavesTrey Edward ShultsFilming


2002–04Third WatchOfficer Edward Dade9 episodes
2003HackRasheed MorganEpisode: "Hidden Agenda"
TarzanDetective Carey2 episodes
2004ERBob HarrisEpisode: "Get Carter"
NYPD BlueKelvin GeorgeEpisode: "Chatty Chatty Bang Bang"
JAGSgt. Harry SmithEpisode: "Coming Home"
2005Boston LegalZeke BornsEpisode: "Death Be Not Proud"
StarvedAdam Williams7 episodes
2006AliasAgent RanceEpisode: "There's Only One Sidney Bristow"
SmithMr. CoreyEpisode: "Three"
Without a TraceThomas BiggsEpisode: "Watch Over Me"
2006–07SupernaturalGordon Walker4 episodes
2007SharkQuenton NorthEpisode: "Teacher's Pet"
StandoffRussell MarshEpisode: "Lie to Me"
2007–13Army WivesRoland Burton107 episodes
2008Eli StoneDavid MosleyEpisode: "Patience"
2010MediumTodd GillisEpisode: "The People in Your Neighborhood"
2011Detroit 1-8-7Cameron JonesEpisode: "Ice Man/Malibu"
The Good WifeAndrew BoylanEpisode: "Feeding the Rat"
Harry's LawMr. ThomasEpisode: "American Girl"
2012NikitaNick AnsonEpisode: "True Believer"
2012–13Person of InterestDetective Cal Beecher6 episodes
2013NCISElijah BannerEpisode: "Devil's Triad"
2014The MentalistAgent HigginsEpisode: "White Lies"
Masters of SexMarcusEpisode: "Story of My Life"
2015CastleEd RedleyEpisode: "The Wrong Stuff"
Criminal MindsFitzEpisode: "Beyond Borders"
2016The People v. O. J. Simpson:
American Crime Story
Christopher Darden10 episodes
2016–presentThis Is UsRandall PearsonMain role
2017InsecureLionel2 episodes
Running Wild with Bear GryllsHimselfEpisode: "Sterling K. Brown"
2018Saturday Night LiveHimself (host)Episode: "Sterling K. Brown/James Bay"
Brooklyn Nine-NinePhilip DavidsonEpisode: "The Box"
Black LoveHimself2 episodes
Robot ChickenCaptain Fellowes / Hamer's LieutenantVoice role; Episode: "Shall I Visit the Dinosaurs?"


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


  1. 1 2 "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. 1 2 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.
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