Forget the late James Brown. For years the hardest-working man in showbiz has been director-writer-producer-actor-composer Tyler Perry. And while he may get the big laughs when he’s performing in drag, he’s deadly serious when it comes down to business. Thanks largely to his alter ego Madea and name brand awareness, Perry’s films have grossed over half a billion. Then there are his TV shows, including the TBS series “House of Payne,” the highest-rated first-run syndicated cable show of all time, which went into syndication after only a year, and “Meet the Browns.”
Tyler has achieved all this not in Hollywood but Atlanta, where he has built his own studio backlot, streamlined the production pipeline and created a filmmaking empire and business model that is the envy of the major studios. Perry attributes his success to “hard work” and being unafraid to take risks: “I broke the golden rule, which is ‘Never use your own money.’ But I don’t mind using mine if it gives me the freedom to create, and that’s just what it did.” His latest film, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family” opens April 22.