Tyler Perry (born Emmitt Perry, Jr.; September 13, 1969) is an American actor, director, playwright, screenwriter, producer, author., and songwriter. Already a successful artist in Southern theater, Perry began to make national celebrity status in 2005 with the release of his first movie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. In 2009, Perry was ranked by Forbes magazine as the sixth highest-paid man in Hollywood. As of July 2009, Perry's films had grossed nearly $400 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. After seeing the film Precious, he was moved to relate for the first time accounts of