Michigan Woman Sues 'Empire' Claiming She's The Real Cookie
By Emma G. Gallegos in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 5, 2015 6:04PM
A Michigan woman is suing the creators of Fox's "Empire" for $300 million, claiming that they ripped off her life story to create the larger-than-life, mink-wearing, shade-throwing character played by Taraji Henson.
Sophia Eggleston, 53, claims that she shared her 2011 memoir, "The Hidden Hand," with screenwriter Rita Grant Miller, who promised to pitch her story to "Empire" co-creator Lee Daniels, according to the Chicago Tribune. Daniels as well as co-creator and writer Danny Strong and show writer Malcolm Spellman are also named as co-defendants.
Miller told The Daily Mail that she did meet with Eggleston as a favor to a friend, but she has never met or worked with Daniels. She called the allegations "complete nonsense."
"I really admire Lee Daniels' work and I would be happy to say I've met with him, but I've never met the man and he's never met me," she said.
Eggleston says that she caught the tail end of an episode one evening and found the resemblance between her and Cookie striking. She told the Tribune she wasn't the only one: "The whole city knows me. The whole city was calling me."
Their similarities? She and Cookie are both drug kingpins who spent time in prison, they put a hit on someone after their release, they wear mink coats and have a relative who is gay. Eggleston served prison time for putting a hit out on a man and later for violating her probation. She has a laundry list of charges that include fleeing police, drug possession and weapons charges, Tribune notes.
She sort of sounds like the Cookie when she offered this quote to the Tribune: "This (expletive) just stole my life story. No she didn't."
She also told Page Six, "Any jury would rule for me — $300 million is a very small price for taking my whole life and stealing it.
A California man also claimed earlier this year that 'Empire' had ripped off his own life story, and he was suing the team for $1 billion. A lot of 'Empire' has been filmed around Chicago, and last month, the show's stars showed up to film in the Loop.