A MADEA CHRISTMAS
TYLER PERRY'S (Madea) inspirational journey from the hard
streets of New Orleans to the heights of Hollywood's A-list is the stuff of
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 shows. It was
a simple piece of advice from Oprah Winfrey that set Tyler's career in motion.
Encouraged 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 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 13 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
the now-legendary 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 number one 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; Why Did I Get Married Too?; For Colored
Girls; Madea's Big, Happy Family; Good Deeds and Madea's Witness Protection have
all been met with massive commercial success, delighting audiences across
America and around the world. He also starred in the Rob Cohen directed Alex
Cross and helped release Academy Award -nominated Precious, a movie based on the
novel Push by Sapphire, in conjunction with his 34th Street Films banner, Oprah
Winfrey's Harpo Films and Lionsgate.
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" (an unheard-of feat for a first-time author), and spread
Tyler Perry's unique brand of inspirational entertainment to a devoted new
It is a brand that quickly became an empire. 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". In late 2012, Perry teamed up with
Oprah Winfrey in an exclusive deal to bring scripted programming to her cable
network, OWN. The hour-long drama, "The
Haves and The Have Nots" and the half our sitcom, "Love They Neighbor," which
made its debut on the network in the spring of 2013 and have posted the
network's highest ratings to date.
In the fall of 2008, Perry opened his 200,000 square foot Studio in Atlanta,
situated on the former Delta Airlines campus of more than 30 acres. The Studio
consists of five sound stages, a post production facility, a pond, a back lot, a
400-seat theater, a private screening room, and designated areas for
entertaining and hosting events. Not one to rest on success, Tyler Perry and his
350 Atlanta-based employees have been hard at work. His latest films include
Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, released in March 2013 and from
his 34th Street Films banner, Peeples, released in May 2013. Tyler will next be
seen in Tyler Perry's A Madea's Christmas, adapted from his stage play by the
same name. In early 2014, he will be seen in the Tyler Perry Studios' production
that he also directed, Single Moms Club.
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 and donated generously to
civil rights causes through work with the NAACP and NAN. He also strongly
supports 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 January 2010, Perry pledged $1,000,000 via The Tyler Perry
Foundation to help rebuild the lives of those affected by the 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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