Sophia Eggleston wants $300 million from Empire creators over them allegedly basing the character Cookie Lyon on her life. Eggleston, a Detroit native with a dramatic life story, says she found out about the hit Fox show by accident. She caught the end of an episode while flipping channels, and then started to see uncanny similarities to her own life.
In 2010 Eggleston wrote a memoir about her life as a drug boss called The Hidden Hand, and then tried to shop it around Hollywood. According to Eggleston Empire creator Lee Daniels even saw a copy of her book. She worked briefly with screenwriter Rita Miller who told Eggleston she’d left a copy of The Hidden Hand on Lee Daniels’ desk.
In the lawsuit filed in Michigan, Eggleston says the similarities between herself and Cookie include the fact that they were both incarcerated drug kingpins who put out a “hit” after they got out, they both like mink coats, and they both have a close gay relative.
Eggleston has a few more legal notches in her belt than Cookie, though. In 1992 she served four years forsecond-degree murder, later did another three years for violation of probation, and just this September, she was charged with Medicare fraud. She also has convictions for fleeing police, and drug and weapons possession.
“The whole city’s been telling me Cookie is basically me,” she told Page Six. “Any jury would rule for me—$300 million is a very small price for taking my whole life and stealing it.”