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Sat, 09.13.1969

Tyler Perry, Film Producer born.

Tyler Perry

*Tyler Perry was born on this date in 1969. He is a Black actor, filmmaker, and playwright.

Perry was born Emmitt Perry Jr. in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Willie Maxine Perry (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry Sr., a carpenter. He has three siblings. In contrast to his father, his mother took him to church each week, where Perry sensed a sure refuge and contentment. At age 16, his first name was legally changed from Emmitt to Tyler to distance himself from his father.

Many years later, after seeing the film Precious, Perry was moved to reveal for the first time that a friend's mother had molested him at age 10. Three men molested him before this, and he later learned his father had molested his friend. A DNA test taken by Perry indicated that Emmitt Sr. was not Perry's biological father.

Perry earned a General Educational Development (GED). In his early 20s, he heard someone describe the sometimes therapeutic effect the act of writing can have. This comment inspired him to apply himself to a career in writing. He soon started writing a series of letters to himself, which became the basis for the musical I Know I've Been Changed. He is the creator and performer of Mabel "Madea" Simmons, a tough elderly woman, and portrays her brother, Joe Simmons, and her nephew, Brian Simmons.

Perry's films vary in style from orthodox filmmaking techniques to filmed productions of live stage plays, and many have been adapted into feature films. Madea's first appearance was in Perry's play I Can Do Bad All by Myself (1999), staged in Chicago. Perry wrote and produced many stage plays during the 1990s and early 2000s. His breakthrough performance came in 2005 with the film Diary of a Mad Black Woman. He also developed numerous television series, most notably Tyler Perry's House of Payne, which ran for eight seasons on TBS from 2006 to 2012. In 2011, Forbes listed him as the highest-paid man in entertainment, earning $130 million between May 2010 and May 2011.

In 2012, Perry struck an exclusive multi-year partnership with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).  In 2015, Perry acquired the 330-acre former military base Fort McPherson in Atlanta, which he converted to studios. The studios were used to film the HBO Films/OWN film version of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is currently in ongoing use for the television series The Walking Dead. Fifty thousand square feet of the site are dedicated to standing permanent sets, including a replica of a luxury hotel lobby, a White House replica, a 16,000-square-foot mansion, a mock cheap hotel, a trailer park set, and a real 1950s-style diner that was relocated from a town 100 miles away. It also hosts 12 sound stages named after highly accomplished African Americans in the entertainment industry.

The blockbuster Marvel film Black Panther was the first to be filmed on one of the new stages at Tyler Perry Studios in 2018. In 2019, he produced the political drama series The Oval for Black Entertainment Television. Tyler Perry Studios is one of the largest film studios in the nation. Perry was the second African American to own a major film studio after Tim Reid. In 2017, Perry signed a long-term deal with Viacom for 90 episodes/year of original drama and comedy series. Viacom will also have distribution rights to short video content and a first look at film concepts (the first film from this deal was Nobody's Fool).

Perry has been cast in numerous Hollywood films outside his productions. Perry's films and shows have accumulated over $660 million, and his net worth is an estimated $1 billion. Despite commercial success, his productions have received criticism from critics and scholars who believe his films perpetuate negative or offensive portrayals of African Americans, along with the critical reception itself being largely negative. In 2020, Perry was included in time's list of the 100 most influential people and received the Governor's Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Additionally, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy Awards in 2021 and was inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame the following year.


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