Sterling Kelby Brown is an American actor best known for portraying Roland Burton in the Lifetime family drama series ‘Army Wives’, Christopher Darden in the first season of the FX anthology series ‘American Crime Story’, and Randall Pearson in the NBC drama series ‘This Is Us’. He has garnered significant recognition for his performances in films like ‘The Suspect’, ‘Black Panther’, and ‘Hotel Artemis’. A Missouri native, Brown studied at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School before enrolling at Stanford University, from where he obtained his acting degree in 1998. He subsequently earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Brown started his career on stage, appearing in several regional theatre productions. He made his cinematic debut in the 2002 romance drama ‘Brown Sugar’. His first small screen appearance came in the same year in an episode of the NBC crime-drama series ‘Third Watch’. Brown has received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for ‘American Crime Story’. For ‘This Is Us’, he won his second Emmy as well as three SAG Awards and a Golden Globe.
Following his graduation, Sterling K. Brown started performing in regional theatre productions. In 2002, he portrayed Antonio in an off-Broadway production of ‘Twelfth Night’. Later that year, he was cast as Goodwill in a National Actor’s Theatre’s production of ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’. Brown essayed the role of Macduff in a 2006 off-Broadway production of ‘Macbeth’.
In his first film, Rick Famuyiwa’s 2002 directorial venture ‘Brown Sugar’, he worked alongside Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, and Mos Def. That year, he also started portraying Officer Edward Dade in ‘Third Watch’ and went on to appear in nine episodes of the show in the next two years. He again played a police officer in two episodes of The WB short-lived series ‘Tarzan’ in 2003.
In 2005, he was cast as Adam Williams in another short-lived series, the FX sitcom ‘Starved’. Brown played the vampire hunter Gordon Walker in four episodes of The CW’s long-running fantasy horror drama series ‘Supernatural’ between 2006 and 2007. From 2007 to 2013, he essayed the role of Roland Burton in ‘Army Wives’. Married to Colonel Joan Burton (Wendy Davis), Roland is the only “Army husband” in the main group of characters.
Brown was cast as one of the suspects in the 2013 action thriller film ‘The Suspect’. He shared screen space with Jodie Foster and Jeff Goldblum in the 2018 dystopian thriller film ‘Hotel Artemis’. In the MCU superhero film ‘Black Panther’ (2018), Brown played Prince N'Jobu, the younger brother of King T'Chaka and the father of Erik Killmonger.
Brown appeared as the recurring character Detective Cal Beecher in the second season of the CBS sci-fi crime-drama series ‘Person of Interest’. In the first season of the FX anthology series ‘American Crime Story’, subtitled ‘The People v. O. J. Simpson’ (2016), he played the real-life former prosecutor Christopher Darden, who gained international attention for his involvement in O. J. Simpson’s trial. Besides winning a Primetime Emmy for the role, Brown also received a Black Reel Award, a Critic’s Choice Television Award, and an OFTA Television Award.
Since 2016, he has been portraying Randall Pearson in the NBC family-drama series ‘This Is Us’. Created by Dan Fogelman, the show also stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley. Brown received widespread recognition for his performance, winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2017 and the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance in a Television Series – Drama in 2018. He also garnered two SAG Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2017-18) and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2019).
Throughout his career, Brown has made guest appearances in TV shows like ‘Hack’, ‘ER’, NYPD Blue’, JAG’, ‘Boston Legal’, ‘Alias’, Without a Trace’, ‘The Good Wife’, ‘NCIS’, and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’. In 2018, he hosted the 15th episode of the 43rd season of the NBC variety show ‘Saturday Night Live’ along with musical guest James Bay. He is set to star in the upcoming films ‘Waves’, ‘Frozen 2’, ‘The Rhythm Section’, and ‘Rise’.
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Family & Personal Life
Born on April 5, 1976, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Sterling K. Brown is one of the five children of Sterling and Aralean Banks Brown. He was raised in Olivette, Missouri along with his two sisters and two brothers. At the age of ten, he lost his father.
He was a student at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School. He later enrolled at Stanford to study economics as he wanted to have a career in business. However, as a college freshman, he developed a deep passion for acting and went on to study the subject, graduating in 1998. Brown then joined New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, from where he obtained his MFA degree.
During his time at Stanford, he met Ryan Michelle Bathe, who was also pursuing an acting degree. The couple tied the knot in June 2007 and has two sons together.