Movie star Tyler Perry has gone from rags to riches this century - six years ago he was living in his car, so it wouldn't be repossessed.

The actor/writer, whose new film MADEA'S FAMILY REUNION charged to the top of the US box office yesterday (26FEB06), admits he started the century living rough when a New York play he financed fell flat.

He recalls, "I had everything, all of my money, tied up into the first production. I was hoping I would see 1,200 people and 30 showed up.

"I had the rent payment, the car payment, everything tied up into the show... I rolled the dice one too many times.

"I had my car because they couldn't find it... It was up for repossession... They couldn't find me, It was a Geo Metro. I couldn't afford to pay for a by-the-week hotel."

Perry admits he spent three months living out of his car until his fortunes changed.

The actor has since become a stage and screen star - thanks largely to his recollections of family life, which feature in both DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN and that film's sequel Madea's Family Reunion.