As an actor, writer, producer, and director of films and stage plays, the New Orleans-born Tyler Perry began his career as a dramatist in 1992. When inspired by [[Performer~P76901~Oprah Winfrey~oprahwinfrey]] to channel his creativity through writing, Perry put pen to paper as a method of healing the wounds that lingered from a painful childhood. His first production, entitled I Know I've Been Changed, hit the stage to rapturous reviews in 1997, and following a collaborative period with [[Performer~P286118~Bishop T.D. Jakes~tdjakes]] that resulted in the plays Woman, Thou Art Loosed and Behind Closed Doors, Perry flew solo to create cantankerous 68-year-old grandmother Mabel "Madea" Simmons (whom Perry played, in full drag) in I Can Do Bad All by Myself around 2000 A slew of Madea-based projects were quick to follow, and shortly thereafter Perry joined Grammy Award-winner [[Performer~P448373~Kelly Price~kellyprice]] for the play Why Did I Get Married?. His plays garnered countless fans thanks to Perry's trademark practice of releasing them on home video. Throughout this period, many credited Perry with resuscitating (and reinventing) African-American theater; in the process, Perry's first eight plays reportedly earned a cumulative gross of over 75 million dollars in ticket and video sales.
Perry didn't fully enter the public spotlight, however, until he cropped up in mid-2005 with the oddball A-lister [[Feature~V321036~Diary of a Mad Black Woman~tylerperrysdiaryofamadblackwoman]], self-adapted from his own hit play. This story of an African-American woman Helen McCarter ([[Performer~P215305~Kimberly Elise~kimberlyelise]]) struggling to rebound after a painful separation, whose life is invaded (in more ways than one) by the obnoxious, loudmouthed, chainsaw-wielding (!) Madea, [[Feature~V321036~Diary~tylerperrysdiaryofamadblackwoman]] -- a bizarre combination of domestic melodrama, violent, racially-oriented farce, and Christian proselytizing -- understandably left many critics running for the exit, but, of course, ticket buyers prevailed. The film scored with its intended African-American audience and grossed a healthy 50 million dollars (it ranked as number one at the box office during February 2005), leading to an early 2006 sequel, [[Feature~V306457~Madea's Family Reunion~madeasfamilyreunion]], this one written and directed by Perry.
Either because Perry's talent had matured within a year or because the press had grown accustomed to the playwright-cum-filmmaker's defiantly unconventional style, critics were slightly kinder about the sophomore Madea outing, which benefits from finely-felt supporting turns by the legendary [[Performer~P72317~Cicely Tyson~cicelytyson]] and Maya Angelou. Like its predecessor, [[Feature~V306457~Reunion~madeasfamilyreunion]] struck box office gold, and even topped [[Feature~V321036~Diary~tylerperrysdiaryofamadblackwoman]]'s net, reeling in an estimated 63.3 million dollars in international grosses. Perry then scrapped the Madea character for a tertiary cinematic outing, [[Feature~V359014~Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls~tylerperrysdaddyslittlegirls]]. This romantic dramedy concerns Monty ([[Performer~P270025~Idris Elba~idriselba]]), a financially strapped African-American mechanic who loses custody of his children to his drug-pushing ex-wife, and then falls in love with the beautiful attorney ([[Performer~P267979~Gabrielle Union~gabrielleunion]]) whom he hires to get the children back. Increasingly prolific on stage and screen in the following years, Perry continued packing fans into theaters with Madea Goes to Jail (2009), I Can Do Bad All By Myself (also 2009), Good Deeds (2012) and Madea's Witness Protection while simultaneously making a mark on television as creator of the hit sitcom Tyler Perry's House of Payne. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi