Tyler Perry paid Cicely Tyson a million dollars for a day’s work

Tyler Perry is on the cover of the August/September issue of AARP The Magazine since his latest movie, The Jazzman’s Blues, will premiere on Netflix in September. In addition to discussing his new film, Tyler spoke on a range of topics, including raising his 7-year-old son, the Atlanta-based 330-acre Tyler Perry Studios (the studio payroll was $154 million last year), and working with the late Cicely Tyson. Tyler sang Cicely’s praises and mentioned that he once paid her $1 million for one day of work on Why Did I Get Married?.

Tyler Perry knows Cicely Tyson’s worth.

The Jazzman’s Blues writer/director chatted with AARP The Magazine for its August/September cover story, where he revealed he once paid Tyson, who died last year at age 96, “a million dollars” for a single day of work on his 2007 movie Why Did I Get Married?.

“This woman had done so many amazing things, but she wasn’t well compensated for it,” he said. “She made $6,000 for Sounder, you know? I wanted to make sure she knew that there were people who valued her.”

Perry, 52, also said he “loved working with Tyson” on Why Did I Get Married?. “It makes me feel great that I was in a position to give this incredible woman some security in her latter years,” he shared.

Tyson and Perry worked together on several films beginning with 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman as well as Why Did I Get Married?, Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) and Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010).

After Tyson’s death, Perry dedicated a heartfelt tribute to the screen legend on Instagram. “My heart breaks in one beat, while celebrating her life in the next,” he wrote in part. “To think that she lived for 96 years and I got to be a part of the last 16 brings me great joy. She called me son. Well, today your son grieves your loss and will miss our long talks, your laughter from your belly, and your very presence.”

“Always so regal, always so classy, always a lady, always a queen,” he added. “Every time we would talk I would ask, ‘How are you?’ and you would say, ‘I’m still here. He must have something he wants me to do.’ Well, I think it’s safe to say you have done all you were put here to do, and we are all better for it.”

[From People]

That’s wonderful that Tyler wanted to make sure Cicely knew people valued her and that she was well-compensated. As he says, she did amazing things and wasn’t well-compensated, so that $1 million not only represented the day’s work, but also her iconic career. Black women experience wide wage gaps in general, and Hollywood is no different. Tyler cites her paycheck for Sounder, the 1972 film that garnered Cicely critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination. Although that was 1972, that $6,000 would only be around $42,000 today. At the time that they filmed Why Did I Get Married?, Cicely was in her early 80s. It’s kind that Tyler was looking out for her and wanted to make sure that she had financial security at her age. She should have been compensated well all along, but it’s nice that Tyler stepped up.

Also, the new film premiering on Netflix is the first screenplay he ever wrote in 1995 and he’s rightfully excited to finally bring it to life. It sounds good and is definitely going on my list.

photos credit: Avalon.red and via Instagram/Twitter and credit AARP

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20 Responses to “Tyler Perry paid Cicely Tyson a million dollars for a day’s work”

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  1. Lolo86lf says:

    This kind of stories make me feel warm and fuzzy. How generous of him. Incidentally I watched Madea’s homecoming movie last night and I laughed so hard.

  2. Mary Tosti says:

    Tyler Perry is a rare kind of person. I wish there were more like him in this world.

  3. Rakely says:

    One of the few celebs I’d be excited to meet. This man is a gem.

    • HelloDannie says:

      I gained a whole new level of respect of Tyler after reading this. What a wonderful gesture from one influential figure to another.

    • Isabella says:

      It is so hard to help others without hurting their pride. He understood she needed work, not charity. He is a class act. And I bet they had a blast working together.

  4. Asking for a Friend says:

    ❤️❤️❤️ She was a true icon and I love him for this!

    • Both Sides Now says:

      She was!!! I was incredibly despondent when I heard that she had passed. Gayle King interviewed her just a few days before she passed and she was such an incredible force even at that age. She was not shy about her struggles nor her refusal to adapt to the pressures placed upon her in Hollywood. Cicely Tyson was a woman of passion, activism as well as an actor that punched through the barriers that women after her were able to accomplish due to Ms. Tysons unwavering strength.

      I appreciate Perry paying Ms. Tyson her worth. I am excited to see this movie on Netflix as well!!

  5. Wilma says:

    That’s so good of him! I often wonder about artists that did most of their work before compensation got better and how they live at the later stages of their lives. Cicily Tyson was so incredible and I’m glad she got to feel what it’s like to be compensated fairly for her talent.

    • SpankyB says:

      There used to be a retirement home for those who needed it, I’m assuming it’s still operating. There’s also a fund to help with money. I don’t know much about it, I just remember both were mentioned in something I was reading years ago.

  6. Sumodo1 says:

    Some giants walk among us. Tyler Perry is one of them.

  7. Moderatelywealthy says:

    I love that he did that and love that he seems to be specially interested and concerned about black women. Yes, he does the Maddea thing, but at least he is showing he is there for black women in other ways.Love it.

  8. MsIam says:

    Thank you Tyler! Just proves his kindness to the Sussexes wasn’t a one off.

  9. Lisbeth says:

    It’s great that he showed his appreciation while she was alive!

    • Both Sides Now says:

      It is. This warms my heart that she was able to feel the love that Tyler Perry wrapped her up in!! What a wonderful man!!

  10. Miranda says:

    He’s good guy. And the reasoning is so beautiful. I love that he acknowledged that he did it because he was fortunate enough to be in a position to.

  11. Renee' says:

    I love that Tyler did this for her. She deserved every penny & more. Cicely was such an inspiration.

    • Both Sides Now says:

      She was and still is!! I love rewatching her movies as she is such a strong force that it shows in her performances as well. Ms. Tyson will forever be an icon for us to revere and will miss terribly.

  12. Glamarazzi says:

    Worth it.

  13. BUBS says:

    Everything I hear about Tyler, just makes me appreciate him more. God bless you, Mr Perry. Thank you for being a light in this world.

  14. jferber says:

    Damn straight. I’m glad he paid her that much. I just love Tyler Perry. Such a good person.