Over the past two decades, Sanaa Lathan has established herself as one of Hollywood’s most talented and versatile actresses. She has shown incredible range in her film and TV roles, effortlessly transitioning between genres and captivating audiences with raw, nuanced performances.
In this article, we explore Sanaa’s background, her road to fame, impressive career highlights, her personal life, and Sanaa Lathan Net Worth she has built through hard work and dedication to her craft.
Early Life and Background
Sanaa McCoy Lathan was born in New York City on September 19, 1971. Her mother Eleanor McCoy, was an actress and producer, while her father, Stan Lathan, was a prolific TV director, so performing arts ran in the family.
She demonstrated a keen interest in acting from an early age and scored her first role at age seven in the Broadway musical ‘The Wiz’. Throughout her childhood, Sanaa continued acting in Off-Broadway productions and nurtured big dreams of someday making it in Hollywood.
After high school, Sanaa attended the prestigious Yale University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1993. Interestingly, while at Yale, Sanaa became a member of the influential black sorority Delta Sigma Theta. This tight-knit sisterhood would be an important support system during her acting career’s early ups and downs.
Early Career Struggles and Breakthrough Role
After Yale, Sanaa moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time. But she struggled initially, like many young talents trying to get their foot in the door. For years, she worked odd jobs while going to countless unsuccessful auditions.
Her big breakthrough came in 2000 when she landed the career-defining role of the smart, sassy mistress Mona in the comedy film The Best Man. The movie was a surprise box office hit, grossing over $35M.
Critics singled out Sanaa for praise, with Roger Ebert writing she “is not merely sexy and beautiful here, but demonstrates swift verbal skills and the ability to dominate a scene.” Audiences fell in love with her witty, powerful character and talented performance.
|September 19, 1971
|Sanaa McCoy Lathan
|5′ 7″ (1.70 m)
|New York, United States
Rise to Fame in the Early 2000s
On the heels of her triumphant turn in The Best Man, Sanaa saw many exciting acting opportunities in the early 2000s.
She played actress Sandra in the 2001 romantic comedy Brown Sugar, receiving a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress. She also earned critical acclaim for convincingly portraying the brilliant, tough-as-nails lawyer Deirdre in 2002’s Out of Time opposite Denzel Washington.
In 2004, Sanaa tackled her first major leading role, starring as Brianna—an unwed, pregnant poet—in the romantic comedy Something New. This widely praised interracial love story highlighted her A-list acting chops, emotional depth on-screen, and undeniable star power.
Expanded Reach Through Animated Roles
A talented voice actress as well, Sanaa has been the voice behind some iconic animated characters over the years. Most notably, she voiced Donna Tubbs in The Cleveland Show from 2009-2013. She also voiced characters in Boondocks and Family Guy.
These voice roles have allowed her to bring her gift to a wider family audience. And visually embodying unique fictional personas has been a fun creative outlet for Sanaa alongside her live-action acting.
Later Career Highlights
Sanaa fortified herself as one of the most reliable talents in Hollywood throughout the late 2000s into the 2010s, consistently impressing in both independent dramas and bigger-budget films.
Some highlights from this fruitful period in Sanaa’s career include:
- Her heartrending performance in 2009’s Wonderful World as a depressed single mother struggling to cope after her husband’s shocking suicide. Sanaa bared her soul in this indie favorite, showing stunning emotional depth on-screen.
- Playing Sidney Poitier’s willful, rebel daughter in the well-received 2009 biopic Notorious about the life of famed rapper Christopher Wallace.
- Her pace changed to the tough, no-nonsense CIA agent June Carter in 2011’s Contagion. The tense viral outbreak thriller was one of Sanaa’s most successful box office hits.
- Her raw, vulnerable performance as an alcoholic singer-turned-addict still clinging to faded dreams of fame in 2015’s Low Down. This little-seen indie earned Sanaa some of the best reviews of her career.
Beyond the big and small screen, Sanaa has also flexed her creative talents on stage. She returned to her roots in 2014, starring in the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ for 3 months.
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Sanaa Lathan Net Worth
Over two decades of prolific acting work, Sanaa has amassed an admirable net worth estimated between $5-8 million. While not at the level of A-list movie stars, she earns a comfortable living with an average salary per project in the low to mid six figures.
Sanaa has been wise with her earnings and made savvy investments in luxury real estate. She owns beautiful homes in Los Angeles and Miami Beach worth several million.
Sanaa tends to keep her romantic relationships very private. Over the years, rumor has linked her to stars like Denzel Washington, Steve Harvey, and French Montana, but none of this gossip has been substantiated.
She did make headlines in 2010 when she briefly dated actor Djimon Hounsou. But neither has commented publicly on the reasons for their split months later.
When not acting, Sanaa enjoys activities like yoga, tennis, reading, and spending quality time with her beloved poodle, Drogo. She credits this balanced personal lifestyle with allowing her to flourish creatively through Hollywood’s inevitable ups and downs.
Sanaa Lathan has captivated us for twenty-five years with her incredible acting gift across all media formats. She has opened our eyes to new stories and perspectives through an impressive array of complex human characters.
And with many exciting projects still ahead in this next stage of her career, Sanaa promises to remain a top acting talent to watch for years. Her passion for the craft is undeniable; she has the talent and work ethic to keep wowing audiences.
1. How old is Sanaa Lathan?
Sanaa Lathan is currently 51 years old. She was born on September 19, 1971.
2. What is Sanaa Lathan doing now?
Sanaa remains very active in her acting career. She recently starred in the 2022 thriller film On the Come Up and has other film projects currently in post-production. Sanaa also works behind the scenes, executive producing several shows through her production company.
3. What are the popular Sanaa Lathan movies and series?
Some of Sanaa’s most popular and acclaimed titles include Love & Basketball, The Best Man franchise, Something New, The Cleveland Show, Contagion, The Perfect Guy and Native Son.
4. What happened to Sanaa Lathan’s cheek?
In 2022, Sanaa revealed that she has a rare autoimmune disorder called alopecia, which caused sudden hair loss, impacting her eyelashes, cheeks, and edges of her hairline. After trying unsuccessful treatments, she found success with a product called StrataXRT.
5. Who was Sanaa Lathan’s husband?
Sanaa Lathan has never been married. While she keeps her personal life very private, Sanaa has been linked in the media to several celebrity men over the years, like Denzel Washington and French Montana. Still, none of these relationships were ever confirmed.