Tyler Perry: Entertainment Icon

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Tyler Perry (Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Tyler Perry (Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/WPGC) - Surviving an abusive childhood, Tyler Perry has gone on to do great things — tackling stage, screen and television with what is called the Gospel genre.

He’s now one of the highest paid men in entertainment. On CBS’s 60 Minutes, Perry said he did it his way.

“He who has the gold makes the rules. If somebody else is going to give you the money, then they’re going to be in control. They’re going to own it, they’re going to tell you how it goes, they’re going to give you notes and give you changes. I wasn’t willing to do that so there was no other option for me.”

According to the biography on Perry’s website, he gathered his life’s savings and set off for Atlanta in 1992, hoping that a musical he wrote based on his diary would draw crowds.

“I Know I’ve Been Changed” wasn’t successful at first, and left him facing the same poverty he was born into. In 1998, the play got another chance at a small church-turned-theater. It was much more successful on its second run, and eventually moved to Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. The rest is history for Perry.

Perhaps the most recognizable of all the entertainment mogul’s characters is Madea Simmons- the larger than life woman portrayed on screen by Perry himself. She has been making audiences laugh since she first appeared in “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” in 2000.

Check back all month for WPGC’s tribute to Black History Month.

99.1 WNEW’s Cheryl Simone contributed to this report

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