Tyler Perry is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, writer, and songwriter, specializing in the gospel genre
Perry was born September 13, 1969, and raised in New Orleans, to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His 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 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.
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.”