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Ernest Tidyman (January 1, 1928 - July 14, 1984) was a Cleveland-born American author and screenwriter, best known for his novels featuring the African-American detective John Shaft. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the film version of Shaft with John D.F. Black in 1971.
His screenplay for The French Connection garnered him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as a Golden Globe Award, a Writers Guild of America Award, and an Edgar Award.
He also wrote the screenplay for the 1973 film High Plains Drifter, which was directed by Clint Eastwood, who was also its star. Tidyman also wrote the sequel to Shaft, Shaft's Big Score which appeared in theaters in 1972.
In 1974, he published Dummy, a non-fiction account of the story of an accused deaf-mute murderer. It was nominated for an Edgar in the Fact Crime category.
He co-wrote A Force of One in 1979, one of Chuck Norris's earlier films.
Thereafter, Tidyman never attained the kind of success he enjoyed with The French Connection and the Shaft series, although he had a high note in 1980 with his teleplay for the TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (which he also had a hand in producing), which garnered him an Emmy nomination. For creating the Shaft books, he became one of the few white individuals to win an NAACP Image Award.
Tidyman married Susan Gould, and fathered two children — Adam and Nicholas. Gould passed a few years later. In 1982, he married former Motown soul singer Chris Clark, who had co-written the screenplay for Lady Sings the Blues (1972). He died two years later from a perforated ulcer.
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