TYLER PERRY (Alex Cross) has lived an inspirational journey
from the hard streets of New
Orleans to the heights of Hollywood's A-list and is the stuff of American
legend. Born into poverty and
raised in a household scarred by abuse, Tyler fought from a young age to find
the strength, faith and
perseverance that would later form the foundations of his much-acclaimed plays,
films, books and
It was a simple piece of advice from Oprah Winfrey that set Tyler's career in
to keep a diary of his daily thoughts and experiences, he began writing a series
of soul-searching letters
to himself. The letters, full of pain and in time, forgiveness, became a healing
catharsis. His writing
inspired a musical, I Know I've Been Changed, and in 1992 Tyler gathered his
life's savings and set off for
Atlanta in hopes of staging it for sold out crowds. He spent all the money but
the people never came,
and Tyler once again came face to face with the poverty that had plagued his
youth. He spent months
sleeping in seedy motels and his car but his faith - in God and, in turn,
himself - only got stronger. He
forged a powerful relationship with the church, and kept writing. In 1998 his
perseverance paid off and a
promoter booked I Know I've Been Changed for a limited run at a local
church-turned-theatre. This time,
the community came out in droves, and soon the musical moved to Atlanta's
prestigious Fox Theatre.
Tyler Perry never looked back.
And so began an incredible run of thirteen plays in as many years, including
Woman Thou Art
Loosed!, a celebrated collaboration with the prominent Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes.
In the year 2000, I Can Do Bad All By Myself marked the first appearance of
Madea. The God-fearing, gun-toting, pot-smoking, loud-mouthed grandmother, Madea,
was played by
Perry himself. Madea was such a resounding success, she soon spawned a series of
plays - Madea's
Family Reunion (2002), Madea's Class Reunion (2003), Madea Goes To Jail (2005)
and set the stage for
Tyler's jump to the big screen.
In early 2005, Tyler's first feature film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman,
debuted at No. 1
nationwide. His ensuing films, Madea's Family Reunion, Daddy's Little Girls, Why
Did I Get Married?,
Meet The Browns, The Family That Preys, I Can Do Bad All by Myself, and Why Did
I Get Married Too?
have all met with massive critical and commercial success, delighting audiences
across America and
around the world.
In 2006 saw the publication of Tyler's first book, Don't Make A Black Woman
Take Off Her
Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries On Life And Love, which shot to the
top of the New York
Times nonfiction bestseller list and remained there for eight weeks. It went on
to claim Quill Book
Awards for both "Humor" and "Book of the Year." In 2007, Tyler expanded his
reach to television with
the TBS series House of Payne, the highest-rated first-run syndicated cable show
of all time, which went
into syndication after only a year. His follow up effort, Meet the Browns, was
the second highest debut
ever on cable - after House of Payne.
His film, Madea's Big Happy Family, was released in April 2011 to wide
success. For Colored
Girls, based on Ntozake Shange's 1975 play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered
Suicide When the
Rainbow Is Enuf, was released in November 2010 and featured an all-star cast
including Janet Jackson,
Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton, and Kerry Washington. Perry also helped release
Precious, a movie based on the novel Push by Sapphire, in conjunction with his
Films banner. He recently wrapped production on We the Peeples and can next be
alongside Thandie Newton and Gabrielle Union in Good Deeds.
In the fall of 2008, Perry opened his 200,000 square foot Studio in Atlanta,
consisting of 5 sound
stages, a postproduction facility, a pond, a back lot, a 400-seat theater and a
private screening room.
But listen to Tyler Perry and you'll hear a man who hasn't forgotten about the
people that have
helped him reach the top of a mountain he could once only dream of climbing. He
has been intimately
involved in civil rights cases, including the trial of the Jena 6 in his home
state of Louisiana. He has
donated generously to charities that focus on helping the homeless, such as
Feeding America, Covenant
House, Hosea Feed the Hungry, Project Adventure, and Perry Place - a 20-home
community that Tyler
built for survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In July 2009, Tyler
sponsored a trip to Walt
Disney World for 65 children after learning that a suburban swim club had turned
them away because of
the color of their skin. Tyler Perry has also built 2 churches and has donated
generously to the NAACP.
In January 2010, Perry pledged $1,000,000 via The Tyler Perry Foundation to help
lives of those affected by the recent earthquakes in Haiti.
Tyler Perry practices what he preaches, and what he preaches has endeared him
to millions of
fans drawn by that unique blend of spiritual hope and down-home humor that
continues to shape his
inspiring life story and extraordinary body of work.
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