As Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) continues to struggle with his identity and connect the dots about why his biological mother never contacted him, This Is Us finally answered the character's (and fans') questions about Randall's mother's background.
In the Jan. 12 episode, "Birth Mother," Randall finally gets a bit of closure after learning about his late mother Laurel's (Angela E. Gibbs) life through the eyes of her boyfriend Hai (Vien Hong).
Laurel's storyline is explored through a series of flashbacks, revealing how she grew up in a prominent family in New Orleans, why she ran away, what happened after she overdosed, her life post-incarceration, and why she did not try to find Randall later in life before she died.
Throughout Laurel's journey, one person who is a staple in Randall's mother's life is her Aunt Mae. Keep reading to find out who plays Aunt Mae in This Is Us.
Who plays Aunt Mae in NBC's 'This Is Us'? LisaGay Hamilton is a veteran actress.
To escape her uptight parents' strict rules, Laurel would seek solace with her Aunt Mae, played by LisaGay Hamilton. This character is introduced as Laurel's confidant and person who Randall's mother could talk to about her personal struggles. When she was finally released from jail in 1985, Laurel returned to New Orleans to live with her aunt. Aunt Mae also helped Laurel release her grief and guilt over not being the one to raise her baby boy.
Fans may have recognized LisaGay as she has appeared on several popular television shows throughout her career. The 56-year-old actress is most known for her roles on The Practice, Men of a Certain Age, and House of Cards.
The actress is also known for her role of Calpurnia in the 2020 Broadway production of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Speaking to Broadway.com in 2020 about her role as Atticus Finch's housekeeper and caretaker to his daughter Scout, the actress said: “I find Calpurnia to be extraordinarily rich. I think it’s rare to find a character where there is an extraordinarily wicked sense of humor and also a depth and compassion and humanity all at the same time. [Aaron Sorkin] really did develop a whole human being, and that’s what was so attractive about jumping into these large shoes I had to fill.”
LisaGay also talked about her character's strength in fighting for racial equality, telling the outlet, "I think there are many, many African American women and women of color who have been at the forefront of social justice, so I really do see Calpurnia as that."
The Broadway star drew inspiration from the women in her own life, saying, "I probably think of my grandmother most. She was a member of the community. She would hide people; she would help people. So this sense of what is right and standing up for truth — I view that with all the women in my family. I think of all the women before me who have fought. I think of them every night."
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.