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, 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 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 met with massive critical and commercial success, delighting audiences across America and around the world. Perry also 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 audience.

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 hour sitcom, Love Thy Neighbor, will debut on the network in May 2013.

Not one to rest on success, Tyler Perry and his 350 Atlanta-based employees have been hard at work. His latest film, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor was released in March 2013 and will be followed by a production from his 34th Street Films banner, Peeples. Tyler was most recently seen in the title role in the Rob Cohen-directed Alex Cross, and will next be seen in A Madea Christmas, adapted from his stage play by the same name, in late 2013. In 2014, he will star in Single Moms Club, which he also wrote and directed.

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.

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 two churches and has donated generously to the NAACP.

In January 2010, Perry pledged $1,000,000 via The Tyler Perry Foundation to help rebuild the 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.

9 thoughts on “Tyler Perry

  1. Lucretia on said:

    Tyler’s life is very inspirational
    I want to thank him for blessing me to out right laugh, when sometimes I really wanted to cry!

  2. Jamelia Joseph Eugene on said:

    i was about to get tickets but i saw the price and that would have been my pay check for 4 months lol but if there’s a contest that i could possibly win this trip that would be great. am a big fan and always would like that opportunity to perform for Tyler. everyone wants this kind of opportunity and i am one of them not knowing how bad anyone else wants it, but me I’ve moved from the Caribbean just to get an opportunity like this but its never easy and am going to try until i find a way to get in front of Mr. Perry and sing my heart out cause that’s what i do n love .
    please email me if there happen to be a contest: jameliajoseph@me.com.

  3. shanta bryant on said:

    Tyler Perry is a great inspiration too me….I know I’m Tyler Perry’s next star…..I believe it … know and declare it in Jesus name….now praying to get this money for the cruise……. Lol….see ya soon Mr.Perry

  4. Mercedes on said:

    The Lord has really smile on Tyler Perry. Father always say He makes rich who He wants to make rich. May The Lord continue to use you.

  5. phenomena Washington on said:

    Tyler i admire your work to the fullest, you are a great inspiration indeed and i would love to be your next star- I have experience at acting but my one true gift is the gift of imagination….writing is where I’m most powerful. for a sneak peek of my abilities send a request to my Facebook page Mr imaginations shortstories

  6. Momma Dean on said:

    I am truly inspired by the Tyler Perry story. I have been divinely lead to even leave this comment. I’m not technically inclined but the spirit has lead me to leave this comment. I’m praying to come up with the money so that my son and I can attend this cruise. This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and those who can afford to please don’t miss out! I hope we meet Tyler Perry and have our chance to audition for him and better yet work for him and with him. That would truly be a lifetime honor and blessing even if it’s to do some community service in one of his charities. God bless Tyler Perry, Tom Joyner and all of the country who give and help from the heart to make this world a better place. Good luck to all of you.

  7. samarah on said:

    I want to go so bad i know iy’s going to be awesome! !! I would also like to see Tyler perry i would love to be an actress on his crew that would be really awesome! !!!!! So many people that i want to see and work with one day!!!!! Luv it!

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