Tyler PerryPlaywright / Filmmaker / Actor
Born: 13 September 1969
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
Best known as: Madea in his film Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Tyler Perry is best known as the big, sassy grandma Madea from the movies Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), Madea's Family Reunion (2006) and Madea Goes to Jail (2009). From his home base in Atlanta, Georgia, Perry commands a self-made entertainment empire that includes plays, books, TV shows and feature films. He began his professional career there in community theater in the 1990s as a playwright. Throughout the 1990s Perry staged I Know I've Been Changed, an autobiographical musical that became a national hit by the end of the decade. His other hits on stage include Diary of a Mad Black Woman, I Can Do Bad All By Myself and Meet the Browns, and the merchandising of the performances on DVD made Perry a rich man and a national celebrity, especially among African American audiences. His movies use broad humor -- he's nearly six and a half feet tall and plays an overbearing granny -- and stress the ups and downs of family life. His string of movie box office hits includes Why Did I Get Married? (2006), Meet the Browns (2008) and I Can Do Bad All By Myself (2009). He also publishes books, releases CDs and DVDs, and in 2006 launched a sitcom on cable television, Tyler Perry's House of Payne.
Extra credit: Perry has credited Oprah Winfrey's TV show with motivating him to write... "Madea" is a contraction of "Mama Dear" or "Mother Dear," and is the nickname of the character Mabel Simmons.
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