(CBS NEWS) – Tyler Perry is Hollywood’s newest billionaire, according to Forbes. The magazine announced on Tuesday that the popular filmmaker has joined the elite club after estimating his net worth at $1 billion.
Best known for his Madea movies, Perry’s journey from poverty to billionaire status has been driven by his ambition to own everything he does.
“I love when people say you come from ‘humble beginnings,’ ” the 51-year-old entertainer told Forbes. “[It] means you were poor as hell.”
“Ownership,” he said, “changes everything.”
From his 22 feature films and two dozen stage plays to over 1,200 television episodes, Perry owns everything he creates. The Atlanta-based creative also owns a 330-acre studio in the city.
Forbes’ breakdown of the star’s billion-dollar fortune includes $300 million in cash and investments and a $60 million stake in BET+. Forbes says Perry’s homes — in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Jackson Hole, Wyoming — and other assets are valued at $40 million. The magazine attributes $320 million of his fortune to his library of work and says his new studio complex, the largest film production studio in the United States, is worth $280 million.
With these sources of income, Forbes estimates Perry has earned over $1.4 billion in pretax income in the past 15 years.
The high school dropout says he did not receive any formal education on how to be a businessman.
“You got to understand, I had no mentors,” Perry told Forbes. “My father doesn’t know anything about business, and my uncles and mother, they know nothing about this. I didn’t go to business school. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned in progress.”
Forbes says Perry has “a clear path to future membership” in the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.
The creative force says he “plans to build restaurants, shops and an entertainment complex” on his studio lot. He told Forbes he wants to begin financing productions from Black creators who are often overlooked in Hollywood, and he told “CBS This Morning” he is building a compound for trafficked women, homeless women and LGBTQ youth who are displaced.
“I’ll tell you what I’m most excited about next is pulling this next phase off,” Perry told Gayle King. “Somewhere on these 330 acres, where they’re trained in the business and they become self-sufficient. They live in nice apartments. There’s daycare. There’s all of these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society. And then pay it forward again.”
The actor, director, writer and producer joins a handful of Black billionaires in America that include Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Michael Jordan, Robert Smith and David Steward.