Mabel "Madea" Simmons is a comedic fictional character created and portrayed by Tyler Perry. The character is a tall (6'5"), overweight, older woman who uses the "mad black woman" stereotype. She is quite argumentative, is willing to threaten people with her gun, but generally does not get in trouble since she is a nightmare for the police. She has a unique accent, with catch phrases such as "Heller, how ya dern?" or "Halleluyer praise da lort!" Despite her aggressive manner, the character is usually used to teach a lesson.
Although Madea is featured as a costarring role in most of Perry's plays and films, including Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion, Meet the Browns, Madea Goes to Jail, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, and most recently, Madea's Big Happy Family, she is not the protagonist, but the comic relief. Despite this, she is often a title character, even when she is mostly an extended cameo. The only exception is 2009 film Madea Goes To Jail, where her wider role necessitated her being the main character. Madea was born in rural Southern Louisiana, on November 10, 1935, which places her in her mid-70s. According to Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life, she had several brothers, two of whom were Frederick (in the book) and Joe (who appears in the movies) and an illegitimate brother named Willie Humphrey, to whom she was briefly married.
In Madea's Family Reunion, she has a sister, named Irene, who dies. Also in the book, she gives details of her mother, "Big Mable" Murphy, who was also "unusually large". "Big Mable" is described as being very gentle and mild-mannered, a very kind and peaceful woman with a long but dangerous fuse.
When she was 16, Madea's family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, into a shotgun house. She attended Booker T. Washington High School where she was a cheerleader. She mentions in Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life that her mother and daddy would not let her go out until she was seventeen or eighteen.