Born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse, Tyler Perry learned from a young age to find the strength, faith and perseverance that would later form the foundations of his much-acclaimed plays, films, books and movies. Once named Forbes highest-paid man in 2014, Perry has developed a number of television series’. One of the most notable is Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, which ran for eight seasons on TBS from 2006 to 2012. On October 2, 2012, Perry struck an exclusive multi-year partnership with Oprah Winfrey and her Oprah Winfrey Network. The partnership was largely for the sake of bringing scripted television to the OWN, based on Perry’s previous success in this area.
Perry has created multiple scripted series for the network, The Haves and the Have Nots being it’s most successful. The Haves and the Have Nots has given OWN its highest ratings to date as of 2014, with the series also referred to as “one of OWN’s biggest success stories with its weekly dose of soapy fun, filled with the typical betrayals, affairs, and manipulations.
All of which makes him the sought-after Hollywood heavyweight he is now.
It was a simple piece of advice from Oprah Winfrey that set Tyler’s career in motion. Encouraged to keep a diary of his daily thoughts and experiences, he began writing a series of soul-searching letters to himself.
The letters became a healing for Perry.
His writing inspired a musical, I Know I’ve Been Changed, and in 1992, Tyler used his life’s savings in hopes of performing in front of sold-out crowds.
He spent all the money but the people never came. He spent months sleeping in seedy motels and his car but his faith – in God and, in turn, himself – only got stronger.
But even through all that, he kept writing.
In 1998 his perseverance paid off. And so began an incredible run of 13 plays in as many years.
And through all of that, his mother was there for him, supporting him and cheering him on. In a very touching Facebook post, Perry reflects on his mother:
“Every morning that I can remember until I was 41, I woke up to the voice of my mother singing “Happy Birthday” to me.
Be it when I was a kid in my room or when I was older and had moved away, she would call on the phone and sing her heart out. How I miss her voice, off-key and all… lol.”
He continued on to say, “All of that to say that anytime I hear some individual sing it to me, it reminds me that she’s not here anymore. Sure saying it is fine, but the song well, hearing it sung by one person makes me sad.
I don’t mind a group singing it so much, but one singular voice haunts me.”
“Just by natural reflex I woke up this morning, being half asleep, I reached for the