Tyler Perry Once Paid The Late Cicely Tyson $1M For One Day Of Work To Give Her 'Some Security In Her Latter Years'
Photo Credit: Stefanie Keenan

Tyler Perry Once Paid The Late Cicely Tyson $1M For One Day Of Work To Give Her 'Some Security In Her Latter Years'

Tyler Perry is a man of many talents! Yet, he played it small early on.

“I was able to make some incredible deals by allowing people to underestimate me. I always played it small, listened to what they had to say and made the deal. I’d say, “Well, I’ve got to own it.” They’d say, “Oh, OK — whatever.” They didn’t think that my first film [2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which debuted at number 1] was going to amount to much. But the support I had from the audience that knew me — those voices, those standing ovations — gave me the confidence to understand that it’s a blessing to be hidden,” Tyler Perry told AARP The Magazine.

Tyler Perry Paid Cicely Tyson $1M For One Day Of Work

The film, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” was a box office hit, earning over $50 million, and making headlines for earning the top spot during its debut week in 2005.

What’s more, the romantic comedic drama earned nine times its production budget and made Tyler Perry, and his portrayal of the character Madea, household names.

While he reached success early on, Perry wanted to give flowers to the greats he worked with on his projects, one of them being the late Cicely Tyson. 

Perry told AARP he was appalled by the compensation Tyson had received for the 1972 film “Sounder.” Tyson only made $6,000 as a supportive actress in the film.

Perry took Tyson under his arms for the latter years of her life, because he wanted to remind her “that there were people who valued her.” To prove this, Perry paid Tyson $1 million for one day of work for the 2007 film “Why Did I Get Married.”

“I’ve never said this publicly, but I took care of Ms. Tyson for the last 15 years of her life,” Tyler Perry told AARP. “She was a proud woman, and the only reason I mention this is because she wrote it in her book. This woman had done so many amazing things, but she wasn’t well compensated for it. She made $6,000 for Sounder, you know? I wanted to make sure she knew that there were people who valued her. So, she did one day of work on my 2007 film Why Did I Get Married? I paid her a million dollars. I loved working with her. And it makes me feel great that I was in a position to give this incredible woman some security in her latter years.”