Tyler Perry
Birth Date:
Birth Place:
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
6' 5
Famous for:
His first movie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)
actor, director, playwright
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“I know my audience and they're not people that the studios know anything about.” Tyler Perry

Acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, actor, and director Tyler Perry is widely recognized for his character of "Madea," an aggressive, gray haired, bespectacled African-American matriarch, in the plays and film versions of "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," "Madea’s Family Reunion," and "Madea Goes to Jail." He also wrote, directed, and starred in "Daddy's Little Girls" (2007), "Why Did I Get Married?" (2007), "The Family That Preys" (2008), and "Meet the Browns" (2008). Next, he will adapt his own play, "A Jazz Man's Blues," to the big screen and appear in J.J. Abrams' upcoming film, "Star Trek."

On the small screen, Perry created the sitcom, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," which premiered in syndication on June 21, 2006, and has been broadcasted exclusively on TBS since June 6, 2007.

“There's a huge demand for my entertainment and I can't meet the need. So I decided to try a TV show to reach as many of my fans as possible.” Tyler Perry

This 6' 5" thespian, who was one of EW's “The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood” (2007), also released his novel, “Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life,” on April 11, 2006.

Madea’s Family Reunion

Childhood and Family:

“I was unhappy and miserable during the first 28 years of my life. The things that I went through as a kid were horrendous and I carried that into my adult life. I didn't have a catharsis for my childhood pain, most of us don't, and until I learned how to forgive those people and let it go, I was unhappy.” Tyler Perry

In the poverty stricken streets of New Orleans, Emmitt R Perry, Jr. was born on September 13, 1969, to Maxine Perry, who was a pre-school teacher and worked at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center for most of her life, and a physically abusive father, Emmitt Perry, Sr., who was a carpenter and construction worker. One of four children of the family, Emmitt R Perry, Jr. later changed his first name to Tyler because of his troubled relationship with his father. He dropped out of school when he was 16, but later went back to school to obtain his GED.

Tyler, who was homeless and lived in his car for eight years, now lives in a five million dollar home outside of Atlanta called Avec Chateau, a French phrase meaning with home.

“I wanted this house to be vast. I wanted to make a statement, not in any grand or boastful way, but to let people know what God can do when you believe. I don't care how low you go, there's an opposite of low, and as low as I went I wanted to go that much higher. And if there was an opposite of homelessness, I wanted to find it.” Tyler Perry (about his home near Atlanta, Georgia)

Diary of a Mad Black Woman


“I was watching the Oprah show one day and she said that it's cathartic to write things down, so I started writing down the stuff that was happening to me. I started using different characters' names, because if someone had found my journal, I didn't want them to know I had been through that kind of stuff. That's how my first play, 'I Know I've Been Changed' started, which features a character who confronts an abuser, forgives him and moves on.” Tyler Perry

Having written plays since he was 18, Tyler Perry wrote a series of letters to himself. Those letters would later be transformed into the play “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” The initial production, financed and directed by Perry, was a flop until it was re-released to sold-out shows at the House of Blues and later at the Fox Theater in 1998.

Following his first major successful play, Tyler released his second play, a staging of Bishop T.D. Jakes’ novel, "Woman Thou Art Loosed," in 1999. He followed it up with the play "I Can Do Bad All By Myself" (2000), which marked his first appearance as the Madea persona, and a Broadway Gospel show adapted from T.D. Jakes’ book, "Behind Closed Doors" (2000), which was nominated for four NAACP Theatre Awards.

“My theater productions were designed to be a bridge between the traditional urban theater circuits, pejoratively referred to as the ‘chitlin' circuit,’ and a more traditional theater format.” Tyler Perry

The next year, Perry created "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (2001), which follows the story of a devoted and loving wife of a prominent businessman whose life unexpectedly takes a twist. The play starred Marva King, Tamela Mann, and Perry himself and was later adapted into a motion picture by Lions Gate Entertainment and BET Pictures. It opened on February 25, 2005, and in the feature film version, Perry played three roles. Kimberly Elise, Steve Harris, Shemar Moore, and Cicely Tyson costarred in the film. The movie won Tyler two BET Comedy Awards, one for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Theatrical Film and another for Outstanding Writing for a Theatrical Film. He also took home a Black Movie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Writing.

In 2002, Perry once again donned the Madea Simmons persona for the acclaimed stage production of "Madea’s Family Reunion," which was also adapted into film in 2006 with Perry playing several characters. He continued his success with the Madea persona by staging "Madea's Class Reunion: The Class That Had No Class" in 2003.

In 2004 Perry wrote the play "Meet the Browns," a romantic comedy which would be adapted to film in 2008 with Perry co-starring with Angela Bassett, Rick Fox, David Mann, and Jenifer Lewis. During this time, he also wrote and directed the play "Madea Goes to Jail" (2005), in which he also starred as his fully liberated and barely-in-control alter ego Mabel "Madea" Simmons. The play will be adapted into film in 2009 and Perry will serve as both writer and director.

“Everyone knows her. We watch with nostalgia when we think about this type of grandmother. Madea being a southern term for mother dear...she's not around anymore. When she was around, everybody's kid belonged to her. She kept the entire neighborhood straight. Now we're in a different time and different age where grandmothers are in their early and late 30s. People are looking for this Madea, the 68-year-old who doesn't care about being politically correct. She doesn't care what you think about her. She's going to tell the truth.” Tyler Perry (about his character Madea)

After signing a deal with Debmar-Mercury in 2006, Perry created the sitcom, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," in which he has made occasional guest appearances. Premiering in syndication on June 21, 2006, the show has been broadcasted exclusively on TBS since June 6, 2007.

“Did you know you can't say 'Jesus' in a sitcom? They told me that and I was like, ‘You gotta be kiddin' me. If you don't want my God here, you don't want me here either. God has been too good to me to go and try to sell out to get some money. It ain't gonna happen.’” Tyler Perry

He also released his first novel, “Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life,” on April 11, 2006. In its first five days in stores, the book sold more than 25,000 copies. The hardcover hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list and stayed on the list for twelve weeks.

In 2007, Perry wrote, directed, and starred in "Daddy's Little Girls" (2007), a reverse-Cinderella tale co-starring Gabrielle Union. He also wrote, directed, produced, and co-starred in the romantic "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" with Janet Jackson and Jill Scott.

“What is important to me about my movies is that the stories and messages are for anyone. Anyone who needs to learn about forgiveness will enjoy it no matter who they are.” Tyler Perry

Tyler will next adapt his play, "A Jazz Man's Blues," to the big screen and appear in J.J. Abrams' upcoming film, "Star Trek."

“Hollywood is finally waking up to the fact that people who go to church also go to the movies. I'm not sure what took them so long to see that or how long they'll keep it up.” Tyler Perry


  • BET Comedy Awards: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Theatrical Film, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," 2005

  • BET Comedy Awards: Outstanding Writing for a Theatrical Film, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," 2005

  • Black Movie Awards: Outstanding Achievement in Writing, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," 2005

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