Date of Birth: September 19, 1971
The eldest of five siblings, Sanaa Lathan was born in New York City to a director/producer father and a professional dancer mother, and split her youth between there and Los Angeles. "As a kid, I was always hanging around the theater. I remember watching [my mother] in the wings when she appeared inTimbuktu with Eartha Kitt. I was always mesmerized when the orchestra music swelled and the dancers ran by me onto the stage. I was so impressed that I would go home and pretend to be one of them when I was alone."
At first interested in becoming a lawyer, Lathan enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley where she continued to act in the Black Theater Workshop, and later received a B.A. in English. But the theater kept calling and Lathan eventually put aside her plans for a legal career and earned an M.F.A. at the Yale School of Drama.
She chose to polish her craft by returning to New York instead of remaining in L.A., where she worked in off-Broadway and Public Theater productions. Lathan became a veteran of the stage, having starred in A Movie Star has to Star in Black and White, Imperceptible Mutabilities, Twelfth Night, Good Person of Szechwan, Three Sisters, School for Wives and Romeo and Juliet. Her performance in To Take Arms in Los Angeles was rewarded with a nomination for Best Actress by the NAACP Theatrical Award Committee.
In 1996, she arrived in Los Angeles and found guest-starring roles in Family Matters, Moesha, In the House and Built to Last, NYPD Blue and Lateline. In 1997 she starred with Della Reese and Meredith Baxter in the made-for-television movie Miracle in the Woods.
Her feature film roles include Blade (1998), opposite Wesley Snipes, Life (1999), in which she played Eddie Murphy's girlfriend, Love and Basketball (2000) opposite Omar Epps and Out of Time (2003) with Denzel Washington, for which she won Best actress awards at the 2004 American Black Film Festival and the 2004 Black Reel Awards and Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys (2008). In recent years, Lathan has starred in a number of films, including Contagion (2011), The Best Man Holiday (2013) and in Repentance (2014).
Lathan could then be seen in the space drama Approaching the Unknown (2016), as well as Deputy Director Natalie Austin in the 2016 sequel Now You See Me 2. Her most recent films include American Assassin (2017) and The Best Man Wedding (2017).
American Assassin (2017)
The Best Man Wedding (2017)
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
Approaching the Unknown (2016)
The Perfect Guy (2015)
The Best Man Holiday (2013)
Wonderful World (2009)
The Family That Preys (2008)
Something New (2006)
Alien Vs. Predator (2004)
Out of Time (2003)
Love and Basketball (2000)
The Best Man (1999)
The Wood (1999)
Catfish in Black Bean Sauce (1999)