Tyler Perry Explains Why He Paid Cicely Tyson $1 Million for One Day of Work

The director and the late actress shared a close bond.

Tyler Perry takes pride in the fact that he made sure that one of Hollywood’s biggest gems was taken care of in her later years. In a new interview with AARP The Magazine, Perry, 52, shared how he paid Cicely Tyson $1 million for just one day of work.  

“I’ve never said this publicly, but I took care of Ms. Tyson for the last 15 years of her life,” the A Madea Homecoming actor says. “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.” 

He continues, “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.” 

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Tyson died at the age of 96 in 2021. At the time of her death, the media mogul paid tribute to her legacy and celebrated their time together with an emotional post, sharing that it was Oprah Winfrey who called him to share the news.  

“She was the grandmother I never had and the wisdom tree that I could always sit under to fill my cup. My heart breaks in one beat, while celebrating her life in the next. To think that she lived for 96 years and I got to be a part of the last 16 brings me great joy,” he wrote in part.  

“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. 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.” 

Perry, who has been credited for making sure that Black actors are highlighted in his films, also talked about his relationship with Winfrey and the importance of people seeing them work together on the OWN Network. 

“When she was struggling with her network, I said, ‘I can help you.’ Finally, she said, ‘Let’s see what you can do.’ I brought scripted material to the network with the crime-drama series The Haves and the Have Nots,” he said. 

“It ran for eight seasons and is still the highest-rated show that was ever on the channel," he added. "For Oprah and me, it was important to show Black people that you can work together, that powers can come together and be successful.”