(written from a Production point of view)
Tyler Perry (born 13 September 1969; age 46) is a popular, award-winning playwright, screenwriter, actor, director and author known for his comic morality plays and their feature film adaptations. In his first appearance outside of his own projects, he played Admiral Richard Barnett, the Starfleet Academy commandant in 2009's Star Trek, directed by J.J. Abrams.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Perry's childhood was marred by poverty and physical abuse. In 1992, he was inspired by Oprah Winfrey to write a series of letters to himself of his troubled childhood. These letters ultimately became the hit musical I Know I've Been Changed, which struggled before finally having a successful run in 1998. His next play, a staging of Bishop T.D. Jakes' book Woman Thou Art Loosed, was an immediate hit.
Perry, now living in Atlanta, Georgia, created his own successful touring company and produced a number of highly-popular morality plays, all aimed primarily at African-American audiences. Many of these works feature the character of Mabel "Madea" Simmons, whom Perry portrays himself. Madea, a no-nonsense matriarch, serves as both comic relief and as the (loud) voice of reason in Perry's plays.
Some of Perry's plays were recorded for DVD, and between ticket sales and DVD sales, his plays have grossed over $75 million. Among his biggest hits are Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion and Madea's Class Reunion.
Perry's first foray into Hollywood occurred when he adapted his Diary of a Mad Black Woman into a $5.5 million feature film, released in February 2005. Perry played three roles in the film (including Madea) and he was also a producer. The film debuted at #1, earning an unexpected $21.9 million at the box office in its first weekend of release and closing with over $50 million.
Perry followed the success of Diary with adaptations of his plays Madea's Family Reunion in 2006 and Why Did I Get Married? in 2007. An original film, Daddy's Little Girls (starring Gabrielle Union), was released between them. Perry directed all of these films himself and starred in the first two. All three films were financially successful.
In addition, Perry created a hit situation comedy television series called Tyler Perry's House of Payne, currently airing in syndication on TBS. He has directed and co-written every episode of this series, which first ran for ten episodes in the spring of 2006 and premiered on TBS in June 2007.
In 2006, Perry published his first novel, Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life. The book became a national best-seller and was voted the Book of the Year and Best Humor Book at the 2006 Quill Awards.
Perry's next film was an adaptation of his play Meet the Browns in 2008, followed by The Family That Preys that same year. This latter film starred Star Trek: First Contact actress Alfre Woodard. In January 2009, a television series version of Meet the Browns premiered on TBS, which Perry produces, writes, and directs. His next two films, Madea Goes to Jail and I Can Do Bad All By Myself, both opened in 2009. Perry's films have thus far grossed over $370 million at the North American box office.
On 22 January 2010, Perry participated in the fund-raising program Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief. He was among the celebrities who operated the phones for the benefit, along with his Star Trek co-stars Chris Pine and Zoë Saldana, Star Trek: Voyager actress Jeri Ryan, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country actor Christian Slater, and Robin Williams.
Perry completed work and has seen the theatrical release of his new film For Colored Girls starring Whoopi Goldberg. He also replaces Morgan Freeman as James Patterson's Alex Cross in Alex Cross, sequel to Ashley Judd's Kiss The Girls and which also stars Rachel Nichols.
Perry is not a Star Trek fan and only decided to appear in 2009's Star Trek because he appreciated the work of J.J. Abrams. According to Perry, however, had he seen Star Trek Nemesis before signing on, he would have turned down the offer.  He has since stated that, after watching the theatrical trailer for Abrams' Star Trek, he may become a Trekkie.