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 TV 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 eight 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 #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, MADEA GOES
TO JAIL and WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO? have all met with massive critical and
commercial success, delighting audiences across America and around the world.
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.
a brand that is quickly becoming an empire. In 2007, Tyler expanded his reach to