How American actor Tyler Perry became a billionaire

Tyler Perry has an estimated net worth of $1 billion. He joined the seven-figure ranks of Oprah Winfrey, George Lucas, John de Mol, and Steven Spielberg


How American actor Tyler Perry became a billion

Over the years a distinct class of sectors has been noted for producing the most billionaires. When you go through any rich list you are most likely to find these sectors fully represented and leading the park.

According to Visual Capitalist, these following sectors produced the most billionaires from 2009 to 2020.

  • Technology
  • Health industries
  • Industrials
  • Real estate.

Where is entertainment?

Despite the luxurious lifestyle of high-flying celebrities, The entertainment industry has hardly been a billion-dollar sector for entertainers.

Most famous celebrities with millions of followers around the world are nowhere close to billion-dollar net worth.

Entertainers have always struggled with finances after their peak years while some ended up in debt.

But recently there has been a slight break away from the norm. Some entertainers are finding new ways to climb the money tree and are succeeding at it.

Tyler Perry belongs to a distinct class

According to Forbes, there are very few entertainers who ever get to make it to the billion-dollar club. When eventually they make it there, it is hardly from their craft.

For example, Kanye West made it to the billion-dollar circle from a partnership deal with Adidas, not his music. Forbes stated that Kanye West’s entire music catalog is worth a paltry $90m.

Jay Z made it to the circle from a series of investments that cut across various sectors.

Tyler Perry belongs to a unicorn class of entertainers who achieved a billion-dollar net worth solely from their craft.

Tyler Perry’s journey to riches

Tyler Perry went from sleeping in his car after flopped shows to becoming a billionaire entertainer. In an exclusive interview with Forbes, he shared his personal journey and struggles to feed and pay rent.

Perry dropped out of high school. He did not attend any business school. He worked odd jobs to get by while performing his shows for a meagre crowd. Tyler Perry explained to Forbes that he had to work in hotels, sell cars and collect bills.

$12,000 seed money

Perry kicked off his production with $12,000 he saved from his many odd jobs. He used the money to rent space at a community theater in Atlanta to produce a work he had drafted in his spare time.

He kicked off his career from there, touring and performing his debut drama “I knew I have been saved” in different cities. It wasn’t rosy and couldn’t pay the bills. He had to sleep in his car for 3 months at a time.

In 2001 he was invited by Oprah Winfrey to her popular talk show and that was when his special relationship with Oprah Winfrey started.

Oprah Winfrey’s billion-dollar advice

Perry revealed to Forbes how much of his business success he owes to Oprah Winfrey’s advice.

Perry revealed that he was advised by Oprah Winfrey to own his entire operation.

Perry owns a sprawling 330-acre Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. He produces his own content and owns 100% of it.

Forbes credited this strategy as the silver bullet that landed Perry in the billion-dollar circle. According to Forbes, Perry started earning a pretax income of $1.4 billion in 2005.

Tyler Perry current net worth

According to Forbes, Tyler Perry officially became a billionaire in 2020. He is currently worth $1bn.

He joins a distinct class of entertainers who reached a billion-dollar status solely from their craft.

What you should know 

  • Tyler Perry famous character Madea – an elderly Black woman – made him a total of $290m, according to Newsweek. The Madea Franchise consists of 14 movies spanning a period of 11 years.
  • He gets paid $150m every year for fresh content by media giants Viacom CBS, according to Newsweek.
  • He owns his entire means of production and often rents it out to other production companies. This is believed by Forbes to be his key comparative advantage over other entertainers.

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