John Ridley IV (born October 1965) is an American screenwriter, film director, novelist, television showrunner and writer known for 12 Years a Slave, for which he won an Academy Award in 2013 for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Ridley was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and raised from age 7 in Mequon, Wisconsin, with an ophthalmologist father, John Ridley, III, and a mother, Terry Ridley, who was a special education teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools. He has two sisters and is the middle sibling.
Ridley graduated from Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin in 1982. He enrolled in Indiana University but transferred to New York University.
Following college, Ridley performed standup comedy in New York City, with appearances on a David Letterman late-night talk show and The Tonight Show. Moving to Los Angeles in 1990, he began writing for such television sitcoms as Martin, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The John Larroquette Show...
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