Black was born in Chicago, Illinois to Jewish parents Jill and Robert Schwartz, and grew up in Hillsborough, New Jersey. His parents divorced when he was three years old. When he was seven, his father died during neurological surgery following a mysterious assault. The surname Schwartz, German and Yiddish in origin, translates to 'black' in English. His "favorite quote" in his high school yearbook was, "My life is what I make of it, and that's as much as I know."