Born on September 13, 1969 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Tyler Perry is a multi-talented American entertainer. His successful career in the entertainment industry encompasses being a prominent comedian, actor, playwright, director, screenwriter, and producer. According to Forbes, in 2011 Tyler Perry became the highest paid entertainer, with his annual income amounting to $130 million.
Despite being a clear success in the entertainment industry today, Tyler Perry comes from humble beginnings. His childhood and adolescence were hard, and his early path to career in entertainment proved to be elusive at first. Below, you can learn more about Tyler Perry, discovering more about this world-renowned entertainer’s career, prominent works, and net worth.
Tyler Perry’s Early Life
Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Tyler Perry dealt with a lot of severe abuse by his father Emitt Perry, Sr. According to Tyler Perry, his father’s go-to solution to everything in his relationship with him was to “beat it out.” Suffering from constant abuse by his father, Tyler Perry spent his teenage years in depression, making a suicide attempt once. Having turned sixteen years old, Tyler Perry changed his name from Emmitt to Tyler, distancing himself from his abusive father.
Unlike his father, Tyler Perry’s mother, Willie Maxine Perry, provided Tyler Perry with much consolation as he was growing up. Making visits to church herself on a regular basis, she took Tyler Perry to church along with her every week. As Tyler Perry recalls, at church he felt the contentment and refuge that he wasn’t able to feel at home. This circumstance has significantly influenced Tyler Perry’s personal beliefs, since he continues to consider himself a Christian to this day.
In 2009, Tyler Perry saw the drama film Precious, which was a film adaptation of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film moved Tyler Perry a lot, and he revealed that he had been molested multiple times during his childhood. Having experienced such strong psychological traumas as a kid, Tyler Perry struggled to work out these issues as an adult. Once, watching The Oprah Winfrey Show, Tyler Perry learned how writing can be therapeutic, soon developing a passion for writing.
Tyler Perry’s Career Beginnings in Entertainment
Using writing as a way to work out childhood issues, Tyler Perry wrote a series of letters addressed to himself. Soon, Tyler Perry used these letters as the basis for his first major successful play I Know I’ve Been Changed. In the play, Tyler Perry touches upon the issues of child abuse and molestation, and how faith can overcome them. Despite the play’s potential and Tyler Perry’s talent as a playwright, his play was not a major success at first.
Young Tyler Perry lacked in marketing and ended up wasting $12,000 worth of life savings on his play’s first run. Despite not attracting big audience at first, Tyler Perry persisted and kept rewriting his musical throughout the next six years. Eventually, the play became a success in 1998, and 28-year old Tyler Perry went on to create new stage productions. His popularity among African-Americans grew exponentially, and in 2005 an average of 35,000 people attended his live shows every week.
Since his debut play, Tyler Perry has been the playwright, producer, and director of his many other successful stage productions. He has also performed in those of them that feature Madea, the hilarious character Tyler Perry has created and portrayed. Besides the above plays, Tyler Perry’s stage work encompasses Why Did I Get Married? and Laugh to Keep from Crying. It also includes The Haves and the Have Nots, Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned, and other plays.
Madea: Tyler Perry’s Most Famous Stage and Film Character
Tyler Perry has become perhaps most memorable for his hilarious portrayals of Madea, the fictional character that he has created. Prone to overreacting and very vindictive, his elderly character Madea is tough, principled, and stops at nothing to get even. Despite being capable of nurturing, Madea turns to less than reputable methods for revenge, upgrading her criminal history every time. Coming as no surprise at all, Madea is a frequent visitor to courts, classes teaching anger management, and sometimes jail.
Madea’s first official appearance on stage took place in Tyler Perry’s 1999 play I Can Do Bad All By Myself. The character was well-received, and Tyler Perry appeared as Madea again in his Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2001). Madea appeared on stage again in Madea’s Family Reunion (2002), Madea’s Class Reunion (2003), and Madea Goes to Jail (2006). Tyler Perry has appeared as Madea in five more plays, recently announcing Madea’s return in his new play Madea’s Farewell.
According to Tyler Perry, the personalities of his own mother and aunt have become the inspiration for his character Madea. As Tyler Perry admits it, Madea has become the PG acceptable version of both his mother’s and aunt’s fiery tempers. In his words, Madea “would beat the hell out of you but make sure the ambulance got there in time.” Creating and portraying Madea has been Tyler Perry’s way of honoring his mother and aunt, publicly showing them his respect.
Actor, Director, Screenwriter, Producer: Tyler Perry’s Films
Using the revenue from his successful stage productions, Tyler Perry funded his first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Besides portraying his character Madea in this 2005 romantic comedy-drama film, Tyler Perry was also the film’s writer and producer. Inspired by his stage play of the same name, the film made a start on the Tyler Perry film franchise.
In 2006, Tyler Perry wrote and produced Madea’s Family Reunion, a well-received sequel to Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Having directed this film adaptation of his play of the same name, Tyler Perry made his debut as a director. Later, Tyler Perry would also direct all the subsequent films within his film franchise that featured his fictional character Madea.
Following his partnership with Lionsgate, Tyler Perry wrote, produced, directed, and starred in his 2007 Why Did I Get Married? The comedy-drama film was a success, being yet another film adaptation of Tyler Perry’s stage play of the same name. In 2010, Tyler Perry also co-produced, wrote, directed, and starred in the film’s sequel Why Did I Get Married Too?
In 2008, Tyler Perry wrote, directed, produced, and starred in Meet the Browns, another successful film adaptation of his play. Same year, Tyler Perry wrote, directed, and produced his next film project, The Family That Preys, that opened with success. Along with his 2007 Daddy’s Little Girls, the film was his second directorial work not based on his previous plays.
Throughout the following years, Tyler Perry has written, directed, produced, and starred in eight more films featuring his character Madea. Among them is the tenth and final film of Tyler Perry’s Madea film franchise, his 2019 A Madea Family Funeral. Besides Madea franchise films, Tyler Perry has released Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013), Acrimony (2018), and other films.
Tyler Perry’s Appearances in Other Films
In 2009, director J. J. Abrams asked Tyler Perry to play a guest role in the Star Trek reboot film. Tyler Perry accepted the offer, making his appearance in the new Star Trek as Admiral Barnett, the Starfleet Academy commandant. Tyler Perry’s role in this hit high-grossing movie became his first film appearance in the project that wasn’t his own.
Tyler Perry’s next film appearance beyond the scope of his own film projects happened in the 2012 Alex Cross film. His portrayal of the title character Dr. Alex Cross received much praise and drew the attention of director David Fincher. Soon, Tyler Perry starred in David Fincher’s 2014 psychological thriller Gone Girl, based on the novel of the same name.
In 2016, Tyler Perry played Dr. Baxter Stockman in the superhero film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Same year, Tyler Perry made an appearance in the biographical drama film Brain on Fire, based on Susannah Cahalan’s memoir. In it, Tyler Perry portrayed Richard, boss of the main character Susannah Cahalan, a writer at the New York Post.
As a voice actor, Tyler Perry starred alongside Oprah Winfrey in the 2017 American computer-animated Christian comedy film The Star. In 2018, Tyler Perry portrayed Colin Powell in the American biographical comedy-drama film Vice, directed and written by Adam McKay. Despite the film’s reception being ambiguous, the performances of its cast, including the one by Tyler Perry, received much praise.
Television Work: Tyler Perry as a TV Producer
Tyler Perry’s first successful television project was his long-running sitcom TV series Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, released in 2007. Having directed, written, and produced the sitcom, Tyler Perry also made an appearance in it as his fictional character Madea. Soon after the release, the sitcom received high ratings, entering broadcast syndication and running for 8 seasons throughout 6 years.
Soon, Tyler Perry created and produced his next television project, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, releasing the sitcom in 2009. The show turned out to be the television adaptation of Tyler Perry’s film and stage play of the same name. Aired on TBS, the show ran for 5 seasons amounting to 140 episodes total, until the sitcom’s cancellation in 2011.
In 2011, Tyler Perry released his new TV series Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, having created and produced it. The sitcom was the spin-off of his films Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too? After the show’s premier on TBS, it continued its run on the Oprah Winfrey Network, running for 6 seasons total.
Following the success of his previous sitcoms, Tyler Perry released Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots in 2013. Originally premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network, the sitcom was praised by Variety as “OWN’s most popular series to date.” Based on Tyler Perry’s play of the same name, the show continues its run on the OWN to this day.
Throughout the following years, Tyler Perry has created, written, directed, and executive produced four more of his successful television series. Among them are the sitcom Tyler Perry’s Love Thy Neighbor and the drama series Tyler Perry’s Too Close to Home. The other two, Tyler Perry’s If Loving You Is Wrong and Tyler Perry’s The Paynes, are the OWN’s present runs.
Tyler Perry Net Worth
Being a multi-talented entertainer, Tyler Perry has achieved financial success in multiple aspects of entertainment, encompassing theater, film, and television. According to Forbes magazine, as early as in 2005 Tyler Perry received more than $100 million from ticket sales alone. Back then, however, most of the revenue Tyler Perry received came from his stage productions and sales of their records.
Since then, Tyler Perry has produced numerous films and television series, that have become box-office successes and popular shows respectively. As a result, most of Tyler Perry’s net worth comes from his numerous successful stage, motion picture, and television productions. Yet, Tyler Perry’s own projects in entertainment are not the only source of revenue that makes up his net worth.
In 2006, Tyler Perry has founded Tyler Perry Studios, and has been helping others develop their entertainment projects ever since. As such, Tyler Perry Studios has recently helped to film the scenes from The Walking Dead set in The Kingdom. Various sources estimate that the average revenue of Tyler Perry Studios could amount to at least $900 million in 2016.
As a result of the above-mentioned revenue streams, Tyler Perry’s net worth could amount to about $800 million in 2019.
Facts about Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry’s work has received much praise, including from Oprah Winfrey, for sending positive messages to African-Americans across the US.
Tyler Perry has a son, Aman Tyler Perry, with his girlfriend Gelila Bekele, whom he has been with since 2009.
Tyler Perry’s 2006 book Don’t Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings became the New York Times Best Seller.
Tyler Perry lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia, where he runs Tyler Perry Studios.