Zachary David Alexander "Zac" Efron (born October 18, 1987) is an American actor and singer. He began acting professionally in the early 2000s and became known with his lead roles in the Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical, the WB series Summerland, and the 2007 film version of the Broadway musical Hairspray. Efron has since starred in the films 17 Again, Me and Orson Welles, Charlie St. Cloud, New Year's Eve, and The Lucky One.
In 2007, Rolling Stone declared him the "poster boy for tweenyboppers" and featured him in their late August 2007 issue
Efron was born in San Luis Obispo, California, and later moved to Arroyo Grande, California. His father, David Efron, is an electrical engineer at a power station, and his mother, Starla Baskett, is a former secretary who worked at the same power plant. Efron has a younger brother, Dylan, and had, as he has described it, a "normal childhood" in a middle class family. He is an agnostic, having never been religious. His surname, "Efron", means "lark" in Hebrew (his paternal grandfather was Jewish).
Efron has said that he would "flip out" if he got a "B" and not an "A" in school, and has also described himself as having been a class clown. His father encouraged him to begin acting when he was 11 years old. Efron subsequently appeared in theater productions at his high school, worked in the theater The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville, and began taking singing lessons. He performed in shows such as Gypsy; Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up; Little Shop of Horrors; and The Music Man. He was recommended to an agent in Los Angeles by his drama teacher, Robyn Metchik (the mother of actors Aaron Michael Metchik and Asher Metchik). Efron was later signed to the Creative Artists Agency.
Efron graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 2006 and was then accepted into the University of Southern California, but has deferred his enrollment to work on film projects. He also attended Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, a community college located in Santa Maria, California, which provided him with the opportunity to perform as a "young player" during the years of 2000 and 2001.In 2002, Efron began to appear in guest roles on several television series, including Firefly, ER, and The Guardian. He portrayed Cameron Bale on the now-cancelled WB series Summerland. Originally introduced as a recurring character, Efron became a regular cast member on the show in the second season in 2004, starring opposite the likes of Kay Panabaker, Lori Loughlin and Jesse McCartney. Since appearing in Summerland, he has also had guest roles on the shows CSI: Miami, NCIS, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Replacements. In 2003, Efron starred in the Lifetime original television movie Miracle Run. He played Steven Morgan, one of two autistic twins. For his performance, he was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Movie, Mini-series or Special — Supporting Young Actor. In 2005, he played a main character in Hope Partlow's music video for her song "Sick Inside." Also in 2005, he played horse-loving Patrick McCardle in The Derby Stallion, where his character wants to beat the town bully at the steeple chase race.