Charles Trepany, USA TODAY
Published 11:15 p.m. ET Sept. 1, 2020
Ozzy Areu credits Tyler Perry for paving the way for first-generation Cuban Americans to be named head of Tyler Perry’s former studio.
Hollywood’s got a brand new billionaire, according to Forbes.
The magazine, known for keeping track of celebrities’ net worth, announced on Tuesday that longtime filmmaker Tyler Perry, 50, is officially a billionaire, joining ranks of Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
The outlet estimates Perry’s net worth at $1 billion and says he’s earned more than $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005.
Throughout his career, Perry told the magazine, he’s made it a point to own everything he makes. Forbes reports that Perry owns the entirety of his creative output, which includes more than 1,200 television episodes, 22 films, at least two dozen plays and a 330-acre studio lot in Atlanta.
Perry said he learned the value of ownership at a young age.
“My father was a subcontractor, and he would get paid on Fridays and be so happy that he had made $800,” he recalled to Forbes. “But I would watch the man that owned the house sell it and make $80,000. So I always knew that there was more power in the man that owned the house rather than the man that actually was working on it and building it. So I always wanted to be the guy that owned the house.”
According to the magazine, Perry’s films alone have grossed nearly $1 billion to date, and he owns the rights to all of them.
“Ownership for me was easy because I was underestimated,” Perry said. “They said, ‘Sure, you can own it.’ They didn’t think it’d be worth anything.”
Perry also opened up about the lack of diversity he’s seen on film sets throughout his career and how he wants to be a force to change that.
“I wanted to foster an environment where minorities and women and LGBTQ, anybody who wanted to come and work and do a great job was welcome,” he said. “What I found is, if you invest in the underdog, if you invest in the people who haven’t had the opportunity, the level of gratitude and understanding for what is happening for them is so powerful. It’s just wonderful.”
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