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How Sanaa Lathan Achieved a Net Worth of $5 Million

Sanaa Latham

Sanaa McCoy Lathan is a professional Afro-American actress and voice actress, born on September 19th, 1971, in New York, USA. As of 2022, her net worth was $5 million, and she has her acting talent to thank for that. She's appeared in various shows and films, including voice acting for Family Guy to this day. So, how did she join the millionaire's club? Here is a highlight of how the Tony Awards nominee aced her acting career since her debut in 1996.

Sanaa's early life

Sanaa was born to Stan Lathan and Eleanor McCoy. Her father was a PBS employee and producer for television shows like Def Comedy Jam and Sanford & Son. On the other hand, her mother was an actress and dancer who worked with Eartha Kitt on Broadway. Her parents divorced when she was still young, but both got custody of Sanaa and her sibling, Tendaji Lathan. She later moved in with her father in Beverly Hills. According to TV Stars Info, Sanaa got interested in dancing and gymnastics as a teenager. Her parents were already in show business, so this also got her interested in acting in Shakespeare plays. She grew her talent by joining Black Theater Workshop to learn acting and voice acting. Later on, she enrolled in Science and Mathematics at Manhattan Center. Years later, she earned a bachelor's degree in English at the University of California. Her passion for acting also led to Yale University, where she was part of a drama club participating in Shakespeare plays. That is also where she earned a master's degree in drama.

Sanaa's acting career

After training at Yale off-Broadway and on the stage in Los Angeles, Sanaa followed her acting passion. Her first debut was in 1996 when she played a small role in Moesha. One year later, she landed roles in a mini-television film, Miracle in the Woods and Drive.

Blade (1998)

Her most significant break was in the 1998 film Blade, where she starred as Wesley Snipe's mother. According to Wealthy Genius, the film bagged more than $131.2 million at the box office. Some sources reveal that she was paid $10,000 for participating and performing in the movie. She was so good at it that she earned various awards nominations, despite landing a minor role.

Love and Basketball (2000)

In 2000, Sanaa appeared in the Love and Basketball film. Everyone was impressed by her skills, and she won her debut award thanks to the film. She appeared in Candy in the Blackbean Sauce one year later, a comedy-based movie. She also starred in Disappearing Acts, portraying a celebrated songwriter and singer, where she earned an annual salary of $700,000. The film reunited her with Wesley Snipes, previously from Blade.

Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

Come 2004, Sanaa's cup of blessings began overflowing, with film directors and producers offering her the chance to appear in their movies. Her previous appearances depicted her as a "damsel in distress," but that didn't deter her from playing villain roles. She finally gave in and starred in Alien vs. Predator, where she played the role of a tough guide called Alexa Woods. Sources reveal that the sci-fi action movie received positive reviews. It is no surprise that it grossed around $172.5 million at the box office.

Contagion (2011)

In 2011, Sanaa starred in Contagion as Dr. Ellis Cheever's wife, Aubrey Cheever. Most critics argue that the film could've been a premonition of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The actress played alongside famous actors and actresses like Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, and Laurence Fishburne. Thanks to the film's controversies, the global box office grossed $137.5 million.

The Perfect Guy (2015)

Sanaa's second most significant break was in 2015 when the producer for The Perfect Guy chose her to star in the movie. She played Leah Vaughn in the film, and her net worth increased to $3 million. Her character is a successful career woman with a well-paying job, living life on the Fastlane, and a faithful and loyal boyfriend (Morris Chestnut). However, the duo's fairytale goes downhill after their breakup. She meets a good-looking and charming guy she thinks is her new prince charming, played by Michael Ealy. Unfortunately, she realizes that she's "jumped from the frying pan into the fire" after her new boyfriend reveals his true colors. While the show received positive and negative reviews equally, it grossed $60.2 million. However, sources haven't told how much Sanaa earned from the film.

The Cleveland Show (2009-2013)

The Cleveland Show is another television show that Sanaa starred in as Donna Tubbs, one of the most celebrated actresses of all time. While the show got Primetime nominations and two Teen Choice Awards, Fox canceled it after Season 4 due to negative reviews hence dropped ratings.

Sanaa's awards and nominations

Sanaa set the bar higher in her career thanks to the awards and nominations. Here are some accolades she's received through her great movies and TV shows roles:

BET and Black and Reel Awards

Towards 2000, Sanaa's career peaked owing to her professional acting skills. She won a "Best Actress" BET Award for acting in the Love and Basketball television production.

Hollywood Award

She won the award in 2014 for "Best Ensemble Cast" at Acapulco Black Film Festival.

Black Reel Award

She won a Black Reel "Best Actress" Award for starring in Out of Time (2003)

All Def Movie Awards

She also won the "Best Actress" award from All Def Movie

NAACP Image Awards

She won the "Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture" award at NAACP Image Awards.

Tony Award

She was nominated for a Tony Award as the "Best Featured Actress in a Play" following her role in 2003 "A Raisin in the Sun.


Sanaa Lathan has her acting talent to thank for steering her towards her $5 million net worth. She might have pursued other interests in school, but her father's support for her acting career is why we're celebrating her today. The Tony Awards nominee has proven that beauty and brains can go hand-in-hand, and no human is limited as far as show business is concerned.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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