03:07 PM EDT 02/09/2015
Originally posted 11/24/2009 01:20PM
In an unprecedented gesture, Tyler Perry has pledged $1 million to the country's oldest and largest civil rights organization, The NAACP.
"I feel so honored and blessed to be in a position where I can give," said Perry. "Had it not been for the perseverance and vision of the thousands who came before me in the 100 years of this legendary organization, I would not be in the position I am in today."
The millionaire and creative force behind the Madea film franchise and plays, as well as executive producer of this season's likely Oscar contender, Precious, represents the mission of the NAACP at work, says Chairman Julian Bond.
"Tyler is a courageous pioneer in bringing positive images of African American culture and struggles to the screen. His remarkable journey from poverty and childhood abuse to become one of the world’s most successful filmmakers and entrepreneurs is an inspiration to us all," Bond said.
Originally posted 10/10/2009 06:45PM
When Tyler Perry recently revealed a harrowing list of childhood traumas in a letter to his fans on his Web site, it seemed a necessary, if painful, confession for a man known more for his sense of humor.
Perry's revelations follow in the path of those made by one of his key inspirations – Oprah Winfrey.
After suffering depression and attempting suicide as a teenager, Perry was working an office job in 1991 when he saw an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that would change his life. In it, Winfrey – who early in her career revealed she was verbally and physically abused by relatives – talked about how writing down one's experiences could be cathartic.
Originally posted 10/06/2009 10:10AM
There's nothing funny about Tyler Perry's latest work: a revealing account of the horrific abuse he suffered as a child.
"I always thought I would die before I grew up," the comedian writes in an uncharacteristically somber letter to fans on his Web site.
After watching a screening of the lauded movie Precious, which he executive produced with Oprah Winfrey, about a 16-year-old girl who is physically and emotionally abused, the New Orleans native, 40, best known for his comic Madea character, reveals a flood of memories came back, and that "a large part of my childhood had just played out before my eyes."
Beginning with his mother's failed attempt to leave his abusive father, Perry recounts a horrific list of beatings and hardships he suffered.
"My father came home, mad at the world," he writes. "He was drunk, as he was most of the time. He got the vacuum cleaner extension cord and trapped me in a room and beat me until the skin was coming off my back."
Originally posted 07/21/2009 08:10AM
Tyler Perry is playing Santa to 65 Pennsylvania children from a largely minority day-care center whose outing was axed when they were turned away by a predominantly white swim club.
Instead of wading in the waters of the so-called exclusive Valley Swim Club in suburban Philly – whose members feared an influx of the black and Hispanic children, the adults were quoted as saying – these kids are going to Disney World, with Perry paying for the works: airfare, food, hotel and admissions for the three-day visit.
"He wanted to do something nice for them and let them know that for every negative experience, there are people out there who want them to succeed regardless of the color of their skin," Keleigh Thomas, publicist for the producer and Madea Goes to Jail star, tells CNN.
Originally posted 03/04/2009 03:45PM
Fans of Madea, rest easy: No way will director-creator and star Tyler Perry kill her off.
Perry, who recently told PEOPLE he looks forward to escaping to his own private island when he turns 40 in September, has announced on his Web site about his other future plans – involving Madea,
"I have been saying for years that the moment people stop coming to see her she will die a quick death," he writes. "For years I've said this. Now, all of a sudden, it's everywhere that I'm killing her off. That's strange to me."
Originally posted 02/27/2009 09:30AM
Tyler Perry can soon add yet another feat to his list of accomplishments: island owner!
When the movie mogul turns the big 4-0 this September, he plans to join the ranks of David Copperfield and Mel Gibson with the purchase of the ultimate getaway.
"I'm a loner by nature, so when I'm out there on these islands, I just feel like the only person in the world," says Perry, whose latest film, Madea Goes to Jail, grossed a whopping $41 million its opening weekend.
After recently spending a week vacationing on a private island in the Great Exumas in the Bahamas, he admits it's not all relaxation: "Renting an island is the best place for me to work uninterrupted."
Originally posted 02/19/2009 02:55PM
Tyler Perry hopes Jennifer Hudson will continue performing – and even star in a film he wrote specifically for her.
"I just wrote a movie for her that I'm really excited about," the filmmaker, 39, told PEOPLE Wednesday's New York City premiere of Madea Goes to Jail, which opens to the public Friday. "I'm hoping she'll be able to do it."
Hudson, 27, kept a low profile following the tragic loss of her mother, brother and nephew last fall, but recently performed at the Super Bowl and the Grammys.
Unfortunately, her rep tells PEOPLE, "She will not be doing the film as she'll be on tour at the same time they are shooting."
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