Tyler Perry (born Emmitt Perry, Jr.; September 13, 1969) is an American actor, director, playwright, screenwriter, producer, author, and songwriter. Perry wrote and produced many stage plays in the South during the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2005, he released his first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. In 2009, Perry was ranked by Forbes magazine as the sixth highest-paid man in Hollywood. As of June 2011, Perry's films had grossed over $500 million worldwide.
Perry was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, as Emmitt Perry, Jr. His family consisted of three siblings, his mother, Willie Maxine Perry (née Campbell), and his father, Emmitt Perry, Sr., a carpenter. Perry once said of his father, "his only answer to everything was to beat it out of you." As a child, Perry once went so far as to attempt suicide in an effort to escape his father's beatings. In contrast to his father, his mother took him to church each week, where he sensed a certain refuge and contentment. At age 16, he had his first name legally changed from Emmitt to Tyler in an effort to distance himself from his father.
Many years later, after seeing the film Precious, he was moved to relate for the first time accounts of being molested by a friend's mother at age 10; he was also molested by three men previous to this, and later found out his own father had molested a friend.