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Tyler Perry officially a billionaire, makes Forbes list

Tyler Perry has officially become a billionaire according to Forbes. Forbes has added Perry to its list of billionaires and estimates that he has earned “more than $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005.”

This makes him one of a few Hollywood stars to break the billionaire ceiling.

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According to Forbes, Perry, 51, is now worth $1 billion. His wealth is credited to his full ownership of all of his creations on television, in theaters and on the stage.

“I own the lights. I own the sets,” he told Forbes. “So that’s where the difference is. Because I own everything, my returns are higher.”

He also opened his own studio in Atlanta. This made him the first African American to independently own a studio. The studio is located on the grounds of Fort McPherson, which had been a Confederate military stronghold.

The Los Angeles Times reported in July that the studio became a coronavirus bubble where the production of his television shows continued despite the pandemic.

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A large amount of Perry’s wealth, a whopping $300 million, comes from investments and cash, with $60 million coming from BET, $280 million from his studio and $40 million from his homes and other personal assets. Most of his wealth comes from his film and television rights — $320 million.

Only a handful of other celebrities have crossed the $1 billion threshold including Kanye West, JAY-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas, Entertainment Tonight reported.

However, Perry does not keep all of his immense fortune for himself. He is also a philanthropist who works through his charitable foundation, The Perry Foundation, to help those who need it most. In fact, according to Entertainment Tonight, he will be recognized for his efforts with a special Emmy that will be awarded later this month. He credits his mother, Willie Maxine Perry, as the inspiration for helping people.

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His passion for people with financial troubles can be traced to his experiences of the same. Decades before becoming a billionaire, Perry was a homeless playwright living out of his car in Atlanta as he worked on his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” Forbes reported. The play was about child abuse survivors. Perry not only wrote the show, he also did the set design, made programs, hung lights and manned the snack bar during intermission.

“I realize that people aren’t out there struggling because they want to. There are people that just need a hand up and a little bit of motivation can take them a long way,” he said last month, according to Entertainment Tonight. “I’ll never forget being in the grocery store, in Winn-Dixie in Atlanta, trying to pay for some food and couldn’t pay for it. I was at Kroger. I couldn’t pay for it. There was a woman behind me who gave me the money to get the food that I needed. Never knew her again. But that little act of kindness made me feel like I could go on.”