Cleveland Orenthal Brown, Sr. is a supporting character on the animated series Family Guy, and central character in the spin-off series, The Cleveland Show, which reduced him to a recurring character on Family Guy until he returned. He was the token black guy in the neighborhood and a sort of novelty in Quahog which is exemplified in his trip to Barrington Country Club in "Fore Father". Until "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire", he was married to his wifeLoretta Brown, but they separated after Loretta had an affair withGlenn Quagmire, although they still have feelings for each other. Together they had a son, Cleveland Brown, Jr., whose personality and energy contrasted greatly with his father while his parents were still together. He also sports a mustache and often offers deep insight that the other characters are unable to see. In the Pilot Pitch, Cleveland wore a teal shirt with a different hairstyle. However, a character with Cleveland's current design also appears.
Cleveland was an accomplished minor-league baseball player before moving to Quahog after a break-up with his girlfriend Maxine in "Death Lives". In "Blind Ambition", he also used to be an accomplished auctioneer, but was struck in the head by a totem pole, which resulted in his speech being permanently slowed. In "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" Cleveland is also the president of the Quahog Chamber of Commerce. He was once the proprietor of Cleveland's Deli, until Superstore USA shuts down nearly every store in Quahog in "Hell Comes to Quahog". It is presumed it was re-opened until he moved to Stoolbend when he sold it. After his return to Quahog, he briefly becomes a therapist in "Dr. C & The Women".
Cleveland may have been married before he met Loretta, suggested in a scene from the episode "Death Lives", when Cleveland meets Peter Griffin in the 70's. Cleveland picks up Peter in his van, and Peter asks to go to Rhode Island, then checks if it's okay with Cleveland. Cleveland then mentions something to the effect of being away from "Maxine, the Cheatin' Queen". Maxine may or may not have been Cleveland's first wife. As Maxine has not been shown on screen, it is largely accepted that Loretta was Cleveland's first wife. For a while following his divorce he dated a woman named Bernice, who had a higher voice than Loretta's, but seemed as equally bossy. Presumably his desire for a more feminine, traditional woman caused him to break up with Bernice and marry Donna Tubbs, as that is the woman Cleveland ultimately sought.
After Cleveland's divorce was finalized, Loretta obtained Cleveland's house, and Cleveland got custody of Cleveland Brown, Jr. Cleveland and Cleveland, Jr. left Quahog, after Peter destroyed their house, and moved to Stoolbend. He married Donna Tubbs, and became the stepfather of her children, Rallo and Roberta.
He "dies" in "Lois Kills Stewie" when he is shot in the chest by Stewie Griffin. But, it was only a simulation, so it never actually occurred.
His name is a reference to the professional football team Cleveland Browns.
He has terrible foot odor and refused to take off his shoes at Quagmire's house because of the odor, running away after accidentally admitting this to all of his friends.
He now stars in a spin-off of Family Guy, entitled The Cleveland Show, that premiered in Fall 2009. In the pilot, which begins in Quahog, he learns that Loretta has gained control of his house, so he has to move. His son, Cleveland Jr. also left the show and now appears to have gained weight, as well as now suffering from astigmatism. Cleveland's new home, located in Stoolbend, Virginia, is surrounded by many new friends. His old Quahog neighbors, including Peter, Joe Swanson, Quagmire, Bruce, Chris Griffin, and even Herbert, have visited him often.
In "Go, Stewie, Go!", he travels all the way back to Quahog just to see Meg Griffin and new boyfriend Anthonymake out.
In "Baby, You Knock Me Out" he was heard being attacked by police and dogs after being pulled over for speeding. He had been recording a message in a birthday card intended for Peter. He also sings Hanson's song "MMMBop" as part of his message.
Mike Henry has stated that his inspiration for the voice was someone that he had met and told him that he had graduated from the University of Maryland, pronouncing it "the University of Merlind", which is recognizable.
Cleveland is in his early-forties (either 42 or 43), in a flashback during the pilot episode of his show, it was revealed his senior prom was in 1984, giving him a birthdate of somewhere around 1966.
He often falls out of a bathtub from the second floor of his home to the front porch, usually because of Peter. In "Spies Reminiscent of Us", when the missile was destroyed, the remnants of it crashed into his house while he was bathing. Tim the Bear came and said he didn't get it.
In "Road to the North Pole" he agrees to limit himself to one gift a year after watching a Quahog 5 Newsbroadcast in Stoolbend, as long as it's not a gym membership, or else he'll punch someone in the face.
In "New Kidney in Town", Peter shouts out to him while on The Price is Right.
In "The Big Bang Theory", he appears in a promo for The Cleveland Show.
In the first-ever FOX Animation Domination crossover, Cleveland appears along with Peter at the end of theAmerican Dad! episode "Hurricane!" after a storm goes through the towns of Stoolbend, Quahog and Langley Falls and places the Brown, Griffin and Smith houses in the same neighborhood, where the three fathers of each family; Cleveland, Peter and Stan Smith face each other in a standoff.
In "Back to the Pilot", Brian and Stewie travel into a future where Cleveland has returned to Family Guy. However, when he attempts to leave the Griffin home and return to his, Brian and Stewie discover the Quahog has become a war zone due to their interference with the time stream.
In the uncensored version of "Valentine's Day in Quahog", Cleveland awakes in the motel to find his kidney was taken after Meg's is returned to her. The floor collapses and the tub falls out of the room into the parking lot. He chuckles that someone will get a black guy's kidney.
The Griffins visit the new neighbors, the Smiths in Cleveland's old house in "Bigfat".
Cleveland, along with Donna, are seen at Brian's funeral in "Life of Brian".
Cleveland visits the guys on vacation and joins in Peter's quest to find God in "3 Acts of God".
Peter visits Cleveland in Virginia when he takes a whip from Quagmire's mail in "Herpe, the Love Sore". Joe tries to warn him, but Cleveland can't resist the temptation when Peter announces grape soda.
Peter and the guys prank call Cleveland about Loretta faking her death to fool the IRS when the guys have a slumber party in "Baby Got Black".
Cleveland returns to Quahog permanently in "He's Bla-ack!".
In the courtroom scene in "The Simpsons Guy", he is seated next to Carl Carlson. They both assume they are paired with each other because they are the funniest people in their town.
Cleveland is usually depicted as exceedingly peaceful, patient, and sweet, and only on rare occasions has he been known to lose his temper and resort to violence. However, Cleveland gets visibly annoyed with racist behavior. He often acts as the voice of caution when other characters hatch harebrained schemes. Cleveland's speech is slow, almost elongated. Various flashbacks give conflicting histories of his speech patterns. A flashback in the episode "Death Lives" shows that Peter Griffin met Cleveland in the 1970s, when Cleveland already spoke in the slow manner that he is known for. Likewise, in the premiere of his spin-off, it is revealed that Cleveland talked in a slow manner when he was in high school. In the fourth season episode "Blind Ambition", an out-of-continuity flashback depicts Cleveland as a fast-talking auctioneer when a totem pole falls over onto his head, resulting in a slower rate of speech.
One of the running gags throughout the series is that Peter's shenanigans frequently destroy the front wall of Cleveland's house, revealing him in the bathtub. He then exclaims: "What the hell?! No, no, no, no, no, no!" as the upstairs floor tilts and the tub crashes to the ground. In the pilot of his spin-off, this gag was the last straw that convinced Cleveland to leave Quahog. However, even several states away, the Griffins' antics are still seen to cause this event, such as when debris from the missile that Brian, Stewie,Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase destroy happens to fall right on Cleveland's new house in the episode "Spies Reminiscent of Us". In "Brian's Got a Brand New Bag", Cleveland's old, and now unoccupied house is destroyed when Peter watches the movie Road House and beats up Brian, which results in a car crashing into the house, and the empty bathtub crashes to the ground. Afterward, Peter says "Oh, that's right. Cleveland moved." In the Cleveland Show episode "Gone with the Wind", the same running gag affects his former wife Loretta Brown, and she winds up dead after breaking her neck on the ground. In Something, Something, Dark Side, this gag is parodied when R2-D2 (played by Cleveland) slips off Luke's (Chris Griffin) X-Wing ship and falls into the swamp after they crash land on Dagobah.
Cleveland's bathtub accidents have been caused by Peter's giraffe stumbling backwards into his house, the flying missile as stated above, Peter and Lois trying to move their mentally retarded horse by driving into it, missing, and driving into his house, and other accidents.
Cleveland sometimes will show some sexual deviance or arousal towards attractive women. This is shown in the episode "Petarded", when Peter brings seven prostitutes into his house to get back custody of his children and prove to child services that Cleveland is an unfit father. Cleveland responds, "Peter! You and five of those prostitutes get out!" In the Family Guy episode "Love Blactually", it is suggested that he may have contracted genital warts by having sex with a woman that Brian was previously involved with.
- Chet Brown (great-uncle) (deceased)
- Broderick Brown (brother)
- Loretta Brown (ex-wife/divorced) (deceased)
- Loretta's mother (ex mother-in-law)
- Cleveland Brown, Jr. (son)
- Cecilia (daughter-in-law)
- Madame Claude (Jamaican cousin)
- Lavar Brown (Father)
- Cookie Brown (Mother)
- Donna Tubbs-Brown (second wife)
- Roberta Tubbs (step-daughter)
- Rallo Tubbs (step-son)
Characters in bold appear on The Cleveland Show only.
- Cleveland is Peter's 4th best after the dog.
- In Roasted Guy Jerome and Cleveland make a callback to Marlon Johnson and his catch phrase from "Secondhand Spoke".
- In The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire Cleveland swallows a can of spinach in a homage to Popeye.
- In The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire Cleveland The ending scene where Cleveland and Quagmire face off in a boxing ring is a parody of the final scene of the 1982 sequel Rocky III between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed.
- In The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire Cleveland In a cutaway, Quagmire and Cleveland imitate the Festrunk brothers, the “two wild and crazy guys” from the 1970s Saturday Night Live episodes. Peter appears dressed as Beldar from the Coneheads, another of Aykroyd SNL characters from that era.
- In The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire Palpatine, from Star Wars Episodes V and VI, urges Cleveland to “let the hatred flow through” him, which was exactly said by Emperor Palpatine to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.