Not to be confused withMedea
|Created by||Tyler Perry|
|Portrayed by||Tyler Perry|
|Full name||Mabel Earlene Simmons|
Madea is based on Perry's mother and his aunt. In Perry's own words Madea is "exactly the PG version of my mother and my aunt, and I loved having an opportunity to pay homage to them. 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".
Madea was born in Greensburg, Louisiana, on June 26, 1935, and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her maiden name is unknown, but it is presumably either Baker or Murphy as they were the last names of her father and mother, respectively. (Madea was 65 in the first play, I Can Do Bad All by Myself, as well as Madea's Class Reunion. Her ages in the other plays are unknown because they take place between these two plays, and there's no continuity offered. In Madea Goes to Jail, Madea was around 75). In "I Can Do Bad All by Myself," she reveals she once lived in Cleveland, Ohio, but later returned to Atlanta. Madea was a hooker and a stripper.
Madea was brought up in poverty and grew up living in a shotgun house with her parents and siblings. Madea has stated that although her family didn't have much, they had love. She even claimed that her daddy would go outside and hunt for dogs and cook them on the stove to eat for dinner. According to Family Reunion, Madea's mother, "Big Mabel" Murphy, was a hooker during Madea's childhood and was not at all religious. As a result, Madea grew up with little knowledge of religion (as an elderly woman, Madea has a tendency to misquote the Bible).
She attended Booker T. Washington High School, where she served as a cheerleader. When Madea was 16, her parents moved her and the rest of her immediate family to Atlanta, Georgia, in a barn house. It was reported in Madea's book, Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings, that Madea's mother and father wouldn't allow her to go out at all until she turned 18.
Madea's criminal record began at age 9 with a charge of theft. She was charged with her first felony at this age, and her crimes began progressing to illegal gambling at age 18, which later evolved into check fraud, identity theft, insurance fraud (related to her nine deceased husbands), assault, attempted murder, and vehicle theft.
In Diary of a Mad Black Woman alone, Madea and her granddaughter Helen McCarter were both charged with "criminal trespassing, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a handgun, assault with a deadly weapon, [driving on a] suspended license, expired registration, reckless driving, and a broken taillight", which placed Madea on house arrest, while her granddaughter was bailed for $5,000.
Madea has appeared in several plays (some of which have been recorded for repeated viewing), fully produced films, a couple of television programs (guest appearances), one book and one animated film. The character made her first appearance in the 1999 play I Can Do Bad All by Myself, later appearing in numerous other plays by Perry, then appearing in films based on those plays.
In the TBS comedy-drama House of Payne pilot episode "Bully and the Beast", Madea was the foster mother of Nikki. She factored into the plot through a school altercation between her adopted daughter and Curtis Payne's (the series' protagonist) great-nephew Malik. Curtis takes a particular disliking to Madea, who is not in the least bit intimidated by Curtis at all. Rather conversely, Curtis became intimidated by Madea and had nightmares about her.
In the episode "The Wench Who Saved Christmas", Curtis tries to discourage everyone from having the Christmas spirit. He later fell asleep and dreamt that Madea was the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future. In this form, she tried to teach him a lesson about his killjoy behavior.
On another TBS series, Meet the Browns, Mable is said to be the mother of Cora Simmons as a result of a one-night stand with the show's lead character, She is an unseen character throughout the series.
On January 21, 2015, Madea made a special guest appearance in the Oprah Winfrey Network comedy series, Love Thy Neighbor. The episode titled "Madea's Pressure Is Up" aired as part of the 3rd season of Love Thy Neighbor.
- This table shows the principal characters and the actors who have portrayed them throughout the franchise.
- A dark grey cell indicates that the character did not appear or that the character's presence has yet to be announced.
- A Y indicates a role as a younger version of character portrayed by another actor.
- A U indicates an uncredited role.
- A P indicates a photographic role.
- A C indicates a cameo role.
- A V indicates a voice-only role.
- An A indicates an appearance through archival footage or stills.
Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Perry wrote the book in the character's persona. The book was published on April 11, 2006.
In 2009, Entertainment Weekly put the character on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Whether she's going to jail or just opening up a can of whupass, Tyler Perry's Madea is the profane, gun-toting granny you never had but (maybe) wish you did."
On April 1, 2013, Orlando Jones pulled an April Fools' Day prank, informing the public via his Huffington Post account that he would be replacing Perry as Madea. Jones led the public to believe that the decision had come amid Perry's prior obligations, assisting Oprah Winfrey with her struggling OWN network. As part of the prank, Jones released a photo of himself to the public in which he was impersonating Madea. In addition, he incorporated several pretend quotes seemingly issued by Perry, both acknowledging the news and giving Jones his blessing to continue on with the character. Unaware of the prank, fans responded with outrage and criticism. As result of increasing outcries from fans, Perry informed the public on April 15, 2013, that the news was untrue. Perry was quoted as stating, "That was an April Fool's joke that HE did. Not true. And not funny. When I'm done with Madea, she is done."
Perry has been accused of minstrelsy and playing into black stereotypes with the Madea character, most notably by fellow black director Spike Lee. Perry's argument with Lee dates back to a 2009 interview in which Lee referred to Perry's films as "coonery buffoonery". Lee equated the Madea movies with the old-time minstrel shows which lampooned black people as dim-witted, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious and happy-go-lucky, and further stated that if a white director made a movie depicting black people in such a manner he would be ostracized.
Perry responded by stating that his films were meant as entertainment and should not be taken so seriously, saying, "I am sick of him talking about me. I am sick of him saying, 'This is a coon, this is a buffoon.' I am sick of him talking about black people going to see movies. This is what he said: 'You vote by what you see'—as if black people don't know what they want to see. I am sick of him. He talked about Whoopi, he talked about Oprah, he talked about me, he talked about Clint Eastwood. Spike needs to shut the hell up!"
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