Willie Maxine Perry was the mother of Tyler Perry, a famous actor, director, producer, and writer. She was also the inspiration for his most iconic character, Madea, a tough and sassy grandmother. She passed away on December 8, 2009, at the age of 64, after a long illness. What was Willie Maxine Perry’s cause of death and how did she influence her son’s career and life? Here is what we know.
Early Life and Career
Willie Maxine Perry was born on February 12, 1945, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as Willie Maxine Campbell. She was the daughter of Willie and Mattie Campbell. She had three siblings, two brothers and one sister. She grew up in a poor and abusive household, where she suffered physical and emotional violence from her father. She later revealed that her father tried to kill her mother several times.
She married Emmitt Perry Sr., a carpenter, when she was 16 years old. She had four children with him, Emmitt Jr., Tyler, Yulanda, and Melva. However, her marriage was also unhappy and violent, as her husband abused her and her children. Tyler Perry later said that his father beat him so badly that he tried to commit suicide when he was 10 years old. He also said that his mother was his only source of love and support.
Willie Maxine Perry worked as a preschool teacher at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center for most of her life. She was loved and respected by her students and colleagues, who described her as a kind, caring, and compassionate person. She also had a strong faith in God and was a devout Christian.
Influence on Tyler Perry and Madea
Willie Maxine Perry was the main inspiration for Tyler Perry’s character Madea, a wise and witty matriarch who often dispenses advice and justice to her family and friends. Tyler Perry said that he based Madea on his mother and his aunt, who were both strong and funny women. He also said that he used Madea as a way to cope with his childhood trauma and to honor his mother’s spirit.
Willie Maxine Perry was very proud of her son’s success and supported his career. She attended many of his premieres and events, and often appeared in his videos and interviews. She also had a cameo role in his film Madea’s Family Reunion, where she played a churchgoer. She was also the executive producer of his film I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
Tyler Perry said that his mother was his best friend and his hero, and that he learned everything from her. He said that she taught him how to love, forgive, and overcome adversity. He also said that he dedicated his work to her and that he wanted to make her happy and proud.
Illness and Death
Willie Maxine Perry was diagnosed with an undisclosed illness in the late 2000s. Tyler Perry asked his fans to pray for her recovery and health in several emails and messages. He also said that he was spending as much time as he could with her and that he was grateful for her presence in his life.
Willie Maxine Perry passed away on December 8, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 64. Tyler Perry announced her death on his website, where he wrote:
Willie Maxine Perry February 12, 1945 to December 8, 2009 Thank you for all your prayers. Tyler Perry
He did not reveal the exact cause of her death, but some sources speculated that it was related to cancer. He also did not disclose the details of her funeral, but he said that he wanted to keep it private and respectful.
Legacy and Tributes
Willie Maxine Perry’s death was a huge loss for Tyler Perry and his fans, who mourned her passing and paid tribute to her life. Many of his fans and friends expressed their condolences and sympathy, and thanked her for being an inspiration and a blessing. They also praised her personality, which was loving, generous, and courageous.
Willie Maxine Perry’s legacy lives on through her son’s work, especially his character Madea, which continues to entertain and inspire millions of people around the world. She is also remembered for her contribution to the field of education, which she pursued with passion and dedication. She is survived by her children, grandchildren, siblings, and other relatives, who miss her dearly.