Tyler Perry on How Oprah Winfrey Inspired Him: 'That Moment Changed Everything for Me'

By Scott Baumgartner‍
Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to making a name for himself in Hollywood, Tyler Perry learned from the best.

On Saturday, Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, held its grand opening gala, where some of the entertainment industry's biggest movers and shakers, including Beyonce, Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson and Oprah Winfrey, showed up to mark the occasion -- the first time ever that an African American has outright owned their own studio in America.

"In 2005, Oprah invited me to her Legends Ball," Perry told his hundreds of guests during the event. "I saw Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Tom Cruise and Sidney Poitier, and I said, 'What am I doing here?' I didn't know I said it out loud, but Yolanda Adams was sitting next to me and she said, 'You belong here.' By the end of the party I said, 'I'm going to dream bigger.' It was something about being in Oprah's house, being in her presence, seeing what a black person had accomplished -- it really, really spoke to me."

Afterward, ET spoke with Winfrey about being such a pivotal source of motivation and inspiration for Perry in his career.

"Listen, I'm just honored to be a part of all of it," Winfrey stated. "I have seen this from the very beginning when there wasn't a stage or anything and I rejoice in this evening and what it means for [Perry] and what it actually means for the industry. He created his own and did it his own way. I mean, 'My Way' should be his theme song from now on. It's just really remarkable."

Winfrey continued: "You never know who is watching you or who is going to take inspiration from something you did or something you said. I remember him distinctly leaving the Legends Ball in 2005 …and saying, 'I'm going to dream a bigger dream' and I went and said, 'Man, you sure did.'"

At this very moment, Perry himself walked over and Winfrey filled him on what she was chatting about and he responded: "It's a part of everything that's happening right now. That moment, that moment, changed everything for me. …The exposure of it, seeing a person of color did this, that I can do it."

See more on Perry's studio in the clip below.

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Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.