If you ask any average film fan about their favorite films, they are less likely to pick any of Tyler Perry’s Madea film series as one of their favorites but it has consistently remained one of the most successful film series at the box office. Tyler Perry’s career as a filmmaker and actor has made him one of the most successful men in Hollywood. Considering he wasn’t born into wealth, observers have wonder how did Tyler Perry move from homeless to a net worth of over $600 million?
We have decided to answer that question below, detailing his journey from the streets of Atlanta to a Hollywood icon with his own production company and studio. Read on to learn about his remarkable journey as a filmmaker.
Tyler Perry’s Career Journey
To fully appreciate Tyler Perry’s journey to wealth, we must take a look at his background. He was born on the 13th of September, 1969 in New Orleans, Louisiana to parents Willie Maxine Perry and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His father was a carpenter and under him, he suffered child abuse as he was subjected to several forms of beatings that led him to consider suicide. Aside from his father’s abuse, he also suffered molestation from his friend’s mother and three other men which cemented his very difficult childhood.
Tyler Perry did not complete high school and instead got a GED. He was in his early 20s when he got his inspiration to become a writer after watching an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. He went on to write a series of letters to himself and it became the crux of the filmmaker’s first musical – I Know I’ve Been Changed.
The homeless part of Tyler Perry’s journey from being homeless to having a net worth of over $600 million came when he decided to move to Atlanta. He relocated to the city in 1990 and after two years, invested all of $12,000 in savings in producing the stage play, I Know I’ve Been Changed in a community theater.
To save the money, he worked as a used car salesman, bartender, waiter and bill collector for a law firm. The play was poorly received, and his savings were wiped out. As a result, he was unable to pay rent or make car payments, and this continued to be his story for the next seven years as he continued to refine his plays and invest his savings.
Finally, in his seventh year, in 1998 of being homeless intermittently and working dead-end jobs, his play became a hit. Thus, began the second half of Tyler Perry’s journey from being homeless to a net worth of $600 million.
How Did Tyler Perry Move from Homeless to a Net Worth of $600 million?
Perry began to write more plays and produce them, as well as performing across the country. By 2005, seven years after he made his first stage play hit, he has sold over $100 million in tickets and over $20 million in merchandise according to Forbes magazine. He began performing an average of 300 live shows per year which were attended by over 35,000 people per week.
Aside from his mega success in stage productions, he has also made a significant amount of money in film, as videos of his stage productions had made over $30 million as at 2005 and he has acted in over 45 movies and TV shows, including the ultra-successful House of Payne and the Madea series where he famously plays Madea.
He is also credited for writing and producing over 45 movies and TV shows, several of which were low-budget productions that went on to become box office successes. Through a transformative film career that has seen him own his film studios, as well as sign major production deals with Oprah Winfrey Network and Viacom, Tyler Perry’s net worth has grown to well over $600 million to an estimated $800 million in recent years.
Aside from his work in film and TV, he is also a published author who has written two books. His first book, Don’t Make a Black Women Take Off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life, which was released on April 2006 has sold over 30 thousand copies and reached number one New York Times Best Seller list. His second book, Higher is Waiting also debuted on the Bestseller list. It was released on November 14, 2017.
Tyler Perry’s transformation from being homeless to having a net worth of over $600 million now sees him owning a bunch of properties in Los Angeles, Georgia, Wyoming, Atlanta and in the Bahamas.