Tyler Perry is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, writer, and songwriter, specializing in the gospel genre.
Born Emmitt Perry Jr. on September 13, 1969, and raised in New Orleans, to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr., Perry’s mother was a church-goer and took Perry along with her once a week. His father was a carpenter and they had a very strained and abusive relationship, which led Perry to suffer from depression as a teenager.
In 2011, Forbes listed him as the highest paid man in entertainment, earning $130 million USD between May 2010 and May 2011.
Perry was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, as Emmitt Perry Jr., the son of Willie Maxine Perry (née Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr., a carpenter. He has three siblings. Perry once said his father’s answer to everything was to “beat it out of you”. As a child, Perry once went so far as to attempt suicide in an effort to escape his father’s beatings. In contrast to his father, his mother took him to church each week, where he sensed a certain refuge and contentment. At age 16, he had his first name legally changed from Emmitt to Tyler in an effort to distance himself from his father.
Many years later, after seeing the film Precious, Perry was moved to reveal for the first time that he had been molested by a friend’s mother at age 10; he was also molested by three men prior to this, and later learned his own father had molested his friend. A DNA test taken by Perry indicated that Emmitt Sr. was not Perry’s biological father.
While Perry did not complete high school, he earned a GED. In his early 20s, watching an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, he heard someone describe the sometimes therapeutic effect the act of writing can have, enabling the author to work out his or her own problems. This comment inspired him to apply himself to a career in writing. He soon started writing a series of letters to himself, which became the basis for the musical I Know I’ve Been Changed.
In 1991, he was working an office job, when he saw an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) discussing the therapeutic nature of writing. This inspired him to begin writing and he worked through his bad experiences by writing letters to himself. He adapted his letters into a play, “I Know I’ve Changed”, about domestic abuse. Unfortunately, after renting a theater in Atlanta to put on the play, he failed to attract audiences.
He took on a series of odd jobs and found himself living in his car. But, in 1998, he was given a second chance to stage his play and, this time, he was more business-savvy with his marketing. The play was sold-out and drew attention from investors.
Tyler has gone on to established a successful career as a writer, director and producer for stage, television and film.
Has been writing plays since he was 18. As of March 2005, his eight plays have grossed over US$75 million in tickets and DVD sales.
Before becoming a successful film-maker with Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), he was already the owner of a successful play company that tours the country and caters to African-Americans. His plays are also recorded and sold as DVDs.
His plays often reference The Color Purple (1985), which starred Oprah Winfrey. He credits The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) with inspiring him to write.
Perry wrote and produced many stage plays during the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2011, Forbes named him the highest paid man in entertainment; he earned US$130 million between May 2010 and 2011. With new shows lined up, along with older successful shows, his net worth in 2017 is estimated to be $600 million.
Perry is known for both creating and performing as the Madea character, a tough elderly black woman. Perry also creates films, some produced as live recordings of stage plays, and others professionally filmed using full sets and locations with full editing. Perry is estimated to have earned around US$75 million by 2008. Many of Perry’s stage-play films have been subsequently adapted as professional films.
Perry has also created several television shows, his most successful of which is Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, a show that ran for eight seasons on TBS from June 21, 2006, to August 10, 2012. On October 2, 2012, Perry struck an exclusive multi-year partnership with Oprah Winfrey and her Oprah Winfrey Network. The partnership was largely for the purposes of bringing scripted television to the OWN network, Perry having had previous success in this department.
Perry has created multiple scripted series for the network, the most successful being The Haves and the Have Nots. As of 2014, The Haves and the Have Nots has given OWN its highest ratings to date. The series has also been referred to as being “one of OWN’s biggest success stories with its weekly dose of soapy fun, filled with the typical betrayals, affairs, and manipulations.”
Books By Tyler Perry
Perry’s first book, Don’t Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life, appeared on April 11, 2006. The book sold 30,000 copies. The hardcover reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for 12 weeks. It was voted Book of the Year, Best Humor Book at the 2006 Quill Awards.
His second book, Higher is Waiting, was published on November 14, 2017. It debuted at number 5 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Tyler Perry Studios
Tyler Perry Studios is conveniently located between downtown Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Situated on 330 acres of historic land on the decommissioned, Fort McPherson Army base, Tyler Perry Studios is poised to become one of the largest motion picture studios in the U.S.
In 2015, Perry acquired the 330-acre former military base Fort McPherson located in Atlanta, which he converted to studios. The studios were used to film the HBO Films/OWN film version of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and is currently in ongoing use for the television series The Walking Dead. 50,000 square feet of the site are dedicated to standing permanent sets, including a replica of a luxury hotel lobby, a 16,000-square-foot mansion, a mock cheap hotel, a trailer park set, and a real 1950s-style diner that was relocated from a town 100 miles away; it also hosts 12 sound stages. The blockbuster Marvel film, Black Panther, was the first to be filmed on one of the new stages at Tyler Perry Studios as announced personally by Tyler Perry on his Instagram account on February 19, 2018.
Images From Tyler Perry Studios