Who Is Tyler Perry?

TYLER PERRY: to ME, also known as DR. LAUGHTER!!! 

Tyler Perry's inspirational journey from the hard streets of New Orleans to the heights of Hollywood's A-list 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 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, Tyler began writing a series of soul-searching letters to himself-letters full of pain, forgiveness, and, in time, a healing catharsis.  The letters 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 he 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.

I KNOW I'VE BEEN CHANGED was a poignant story of failure and redemption, and it resounded with urban audiences who identified with its themes and exalted in its spirit.  In Tyler they'd found a voice for their longings, and an outlet for their entertainment, and so began an incredible run of eight plays in as many years, including WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED!, a celebrated collaboration with the prominent Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes.

But if audiences were buoyed by Tyler's faith, they were bowled over by his humor.  No way around it: the man was plain funny.  Nowhere was this more in evidence than in 2000's I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF, which marked the first appearance of the now-legendary Madea.  A 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) and 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 #1 nationwide.  By the end of its first weekend in theatres, two things had happened: the film had earned $22 million, and Tyler Perry-writer, actor, and producer-had become a superstar.  Tyler's ensuing films, MADEA'S FAMILY REUNION, DADDY LITTLE GIRLS, WHY DID I GET MARRIED?, MEET THE BROWNS, and THE FAMILY THAT PREYS have all met with massive critical and commercial success, delighting audiences across America and around the world.  His most recent film, MADEA GOES TO JAIL, spent two weeks at the top of the box office and ultimately went on to gross more than $90 million.

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 audience.   

It is a brand that is quickly becoming an empire.  In 2007, Tyler expanded his reach to television with the TBS series TYLER PERRY'S 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 - and was picked up for 80 episodes to begin airing this summer.  Not one to rest on success, Tyler Perry and his 300 Atlanta-based employees are hard at work on new projects including I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF starring Academy Award® nominee Taraji Henson and Mary J. Blige, currently in production; WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO, which will go into production this summer.  This fall, he will help release PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPHIRE, in conjunction with his 34th Street Films banner, Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films and Lionsgate. The film was also the recipient of three prestigious awards at the festival: Grand Jury Prize: U.S Dramatic, Audience Award and a Special Jury Award for Acting.

In the fall of 2008, Perry also opened his 200,000 square foot studios in Atlanta situated on the former Delta Airlines campus on more than 30 acres.  Employing hundreds of local Atlantans, his new studio consists of 5 sound stages, a post production facility, a pond, a back lot, a 400 seat theater and private screening room and designated areas for entertaining and holding events.

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 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 - and 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 Tyler built for survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  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.

THANK YOU for taking time to read Tyler Perry's biography! Go to www.tylerperry.com and leave a message on his message board....there's other things to do there as well....check it out for yourself!!! TAKE CARE!!!

LetMeGo2 LetMeGo2
41-45, F
6 Responses Dec 18, 2009

EPjake, THANK YOU for taking the time to read and leave your comments. I agree with what you said about TP! I'm gonna have to do some research, I hadn't heard of "Covenant with Black America" but I'm gonna look into it! THANK YOU, again! TAKE CARE!!!

I think that the guy is incredibly interesting. I actually became much more interested in him because of his interview on 60 Minutes in the not too distant past.<br />
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The guy has some really big ideas and they are very applicable to people who have otherwise been ignored or treated as if their specific needs weren't worthy of such attention... in the process he has created one of the most powerful and dedicated "mainstream" audiences.<br />
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His work and his approach really reminds me of so much of the message in "Covenant with Black America" -- a series of essays and outlines for the individual to actually make the difference versus an argument for accepting the status quo. Thank you for sharing.

jburns1947, I totally agree with you! TAKE CARE!!!

I am a big fan of Tyler Perry. I love the way he mixes inspiration and humor. I've always wondered about his life and this gives a lot of info and insight to me. It's the ones that suffer the most that have the most inspiring stories to tell if and when they become one of God's children. They also have the most to give. Maybe not financially but in many other ways they give of themselves gladly.

chance1....Glad I could help! ENJOY ~ TAKE CARE!!!

Very interesting LetMeGo. I love the Madea movies! Now I know more about the man behind them.