John Ridgely was born on 6 September 1909 In Chicago, Illinois, USA. His birth name was John Huntington Rea. He was an American film actor who had done 175 films in his lifetime. Ridgely graduated from Stanford University before getting into movies. He had planned to enter the industry as his career goal. After performing in plays with the Pasadena Playhouse, Ridgely entered films in the 1930s. His wife was Virginia Robinson and had a son John Ridgley Rea with her.
He started his film career with "Streamline Express" released in 1935 and was always passionate about his work. During the span of 1930-1940, he appeared in about 100 films with Warner Brothers and proved his excellence. His tall and dark hair personality pleased the audience and elevated his fan following. "Submarine D-1" was his first film with the Warner Bros. released in 1937. He was believed to be one of the most versatile supporting artists, playing varied roles such as policeman, military officers, best friend, neighbor, doctor, truck driver, cab driver, reporter, and clerk.
He began his career with junior roles in movies like "White Banners", "Going Places”, “He Couldn't Say No" and "My Bill" in 1938. "King of the Underworld”, “They Made Me a Criminal”, “Secret Service of the Air" and "Dark Victory" in 1939, "They Died with Their Boots On" in 1941 and "The Man Who Came to Dinner" in 1942. Though he didn't play the lead role in his initial days, he was still an important and magic maker in the movies. He got his breakthrough as the lead in 1943 with movies like "Air Force" and "Destination Tokyo". He received top income for playing the commanding officer in Howard Hawk's "Air Force” along with John Garfield, it is based on World War II.
Film critic Bosley Crowther called him as "refreshingly direct performer" in the New York Times film review on 4 February 1943. According to an article in February 1944, he almost faced an accident because of surprise on seeing an old woman driving a 1903 Baker Electric. Later in 1945, he acted along with John Garfield and Elena Parker as their neighbor and friend in "Pride of the Marines". In 1946, he played an intense and sensitive role of Eddie Mars, a heart patient in Bogart-directed "The Big Sleep". He even threw a party for celebrating his 19th anniversary in the film industry on 26 May 1951.
After his contract with Warner Bros. expired, he worked with other studios and did many television and stage appearances till his death in 1968. His television credits Include "The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok", "Dangerous Assignment", "Schlitz Playhouse", "Rebound" and "Your Favorite Story". He left movies after his last movie "Off Limits" in 1953 and began working in theatre productions and televisions until his death.
According to a newspaper, Ridgely took few kids for a car ride when they insisted upon knowing that he was an actor. He breathed his last on 18th January 1968 at the age of 58, because of a heart ailment in Los Angeles, California. His burial ground is at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, LA County, USA.