Tyler Perry is the actor most associated with the character of Madea, however, Madea wouldn’t exist without Eddie Murphy. One of Murphy’s movies helped inspire Perry to create Madea. Here’s a look at what inspired the character — and what Murphy thinks of Perry.
How Eddie Murphy and Tyler Perry’s relatives inspired Madea
Murphy’s filmography is filled with gems like Trading Places, Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop, Mulan, and Shrek. He’s also been in many sequels. Sequels generally don’t receive as much recognition as the predecessors, however, Perry took lots of inspiration from one of Murphy’s sequels.
In the 1990s, Murphy remade the classic Jerry Lewis comedy The Nutty Professor. The success of that remake led to the creation of a follow-up called Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. In that film, Murphy plays several characters in the fictional Klump family in different costumes and makeup, including a female character named Mama Klump. This film had a huge impact on Perry.
“Madea is a cross between my mother and my aunt and watching Eddie Murphy, the brilliant Eddie Murphy, do The Klumps,” Perry told NPR. “I thought — maybe I should try my hand at a female character. And that’s what came up. I thought I’d imitate the funniest person that I know, and she is the exactly the PG version of my mother and my aunt, and I loved having an opportunity to pay homage to them.”
A look at the woman who inspired mother is like Madea
Afterward, Perry described some of the inspirations behind Madea at length. “[Madea is] a strong, witty, loving, I mean really, just like my mother used to be before she died,” he recalled. “She would beat the hell out of you but make sure the ambulance got there in time to make sure they could set your arm back, you know what I mean? Because the love was there inside all of it. I know it sounds really strange, but that’s the old-school mentality.” In addition, Perry designed Madea to tell politically incorrect jokes because he feels people miss political incorrectness. The Madea film franchise became on of the most iconic comedy franchises of the 2000s and 2010s.
What Eddie Murphy thinks of Tyler Perry
Murphy was in a film about actor/director Rudy Ray Moore called Dolemite Is My Name. Cinema Blend reports Murphy compared Perry to Moore, saying both were unattractive men with potbellies who still found a following. He also described Moore’s work and Perry’s work as “crude.” In addition, Murphy said both Moore and Perry were able to make it in show business because of their “volition.”
Perry responded, saying Murphy was essentially right but he wasn’t an unattractive man with a potbelly. Regardless, Perry praises Dolemite Is My Name and hoped Murphy would win an award for it. Perry drew inspiration from Murphy — even if Murphy said some unflattering things about his appearance.