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How did Tyler Perry get his start in acting?

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Quick Answer

Tyler Perry got his start in acting when he appeared in a production of "I Know I've Been Changed." Perry is the sole author of the play, which debuted in New Orleans in 1992.

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Perry used the bulk of his life savings to stage the first run of "I Know I've Been Changed," the story of two adults overcoming the effects of childhood trauma and familial dysfunction. Perry portrayed Joe, one of the lead characters.

The production was initially a commercial failure. Later, owing to support from a promoter and his home church, Perry staged the play again to sold-out audiences. "I Know I've Been Changed" then traveled to Atlanta, opening in 1998 and touring until 2000.

Prior to writing "I Know I've Been Changed," Perry was homeless. Following a favorite talk show host's advice, Perry began keeping a journal about his experiences as a survivor of abuse. This journal, a series of letters Perry wrote to himself, contributed much of the subject matter for "I Know I've Been Changed."

Perry has since produced more than a dozen plays and has adapted several into movies. Unlike many of Perry's other plays and musicals, "I Know I've Been Changed" is not available on DVD, and no recordings of it exist.

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