Zac Efron, born Zachary David Alexander, is an American actor and singer as well as a Hollywood heartthrob. He began acting professionally in the early 2000s. His rise to fame was in 2006, when he took on the lead role in the film, 'High School Musical'. The film was merely meant to be a usual Disney fare but turned out to be the most successful Disney Channel Original Movie. Since, he has become one of the most adored actors, taking on several other successful roles on-screen.
Efron was born in San Luis Obispo, California to mother, Starla Baskett and father, David Efron. His mother pursued a career as a secretary while his father works as an electrical engineer at a power station. Efron has one younger brother, Dylan, and describes his family as being middle-class and his childhood as being “normal”.
During his school years, Efron was known as the class-clown and excelled academically. He showed immense interest in theatre during high school and starred in several productions such as The Great American Melodrama, Vaudeville, Little Shop of Horrors and The Music Man. He also had a keen fascination with singing and took lessons while at school. It was during this time that his drama teacher recommended Efron to a Los Angeles agent, which helped him sign a contract with Creative Artists Agency later on.
Efron attended Arroya Grande High School in 2006 and was accepted into the University of Southern California. He did not however attend the university as he decided to focus on acting. He spent some time at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, a community college in California, which ultimately boosted his career in acting.
Efron’s career in acting took off in the early 2000s when he appeared as a guest star in several TV series such as Firefly, ER and The Guardian. In 2004, he was given his first recurring role in the first season of Summerland, which led to a main role in the second season. Around the same time, he was cast in a few films such as, Miracle Run, which awarded him a Young Artist Award nomination.
His career really took off however after he was given a role in the film High School Musical alongside Vanessa Hudgens in 2006, which premiered on the Disney Channel. This film has been described as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet. In it, Efron plays Troy Bolton, the male lead and a high school basketball player who faces a dilemma when he finds himself interested in participating in the school musical. It was this role that gave Efron a huge following, especially among teens.
In 2007, Efron was seen in the film, Hairspray – a film adapted from the Broadway musical under the same name. Later that year, he starred in the second High School Musical film and in 2008, went on to do High School Musical 3: Senior Year, with his talent increasing. His next film in 2009 was entitled 17 Again where he worked alongside Friends star Matthew Perry. Nearing the end of the decade, Efron starred in a number of other successful films such as Me and Orson Welles and Charlie St. Cloud. The latter received mostly negative reviews however.
In 2012 he played a supporting role in the film Liberal Arts which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was written and directed by Josh Radnor, as well as the film The Paperboy which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that year. He also played the male lead in The Lucky One which brought in great success at the box office, despite fairly bad reviews from critics.
In 2014, Efron went on to star in and be the executive producer of the film That Awkward Moment alongside Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan. Later that year, he was seen in the comedy Bad Neighbors co-starring Seth Rogan. It was this role that rid Efron of his pretty boy image. In 2015, he worked with Robert De Niro in a film called, Dirty Grandpa, which was a commercial success however received a number of negative reviews due to its crude nature.
After this, the sequel to Bad Neighbors came out entitled Bad Neighbors: Sorority Rising, which proved to be a success commercially and critically. In 2016, Efron starred in his third ever comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, alongside Adam DeVine and Anna Kendrick.
Efron has a few upcoming projects this year, such as The Masterpiece directed and starring James Franco, which will be released sometime in 2017. He has also successfully completed working on-set the film, Baywatch – an adaption of the popular TV series of the same name – and will be aired in May 2017.
In addition to Efron’s successful acting career, he has also been featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, which dubbed him “The New American Heartthrob” and managed to show off his great vocal abilities on The Ellen Show singing a duet alongside Taylor Swift.
While Efron has most certainly got a way with the ladies, it has been said that a lot of his innocent roles were a great cover up for his somewhat destructive lifestyle. In 2013, the actor spent some time in rehab for substances such as cocaine and alcohol. His addiction however was kept extremely private and he managed to keep a low profile. An insider revealed, “He surrounds himself with a group that enjoys partying. He got caught up in the partying lifestyle the past few years”. Another revealed, “Like most people at clubs, he liked to drink and have a good time. He definitely liked to party”. He allegedly surrounded himself with people who fed off of this lifestyle and encouraged him to continue into further destructive behavior. Today, he is clean and sober.
He also gained a considerable amount of attention in 2016 when he tweeted, “I’m grateful for a couple things today: Martin Luther King Jr. & 10 million followers on IG”. This led many to question whether he felt the two were of equal importance – the world’s best-known civil rights leader and his personal Instagram count. Fans and other members of the public responded to his tweet by saying, “This is one of the most offensive/diminishing/disrespectful things anyone has said in relation to MLK today. Get over yourself,” and, “Zac, I heart you but whichever social media manager told you gaining 10 mil followers and MLK’s work are in the same vein, fire them”.
Efron was also put on the shortlist as seen on Perez Hilton’s blog for the Golden Raspberry Award – Razzies, for short – for his film, Bad Grandpa, which is a kind of anti-Golden Globe for films that have flopped.
While Efron has never been married, he has admitted to have a number of love affairs throughout his life. He met Vanessa Hudgens while on-set of the first High School Musical film, and the pair began dating in 2005. They stayed together for five years before breaking it off. He then took four years off from the dating scene.
In 2014, he began dating Sami Mire, a famous model and established entrepreneur. The pair broke up in mid 2016 however and the actor deleted all photos of Mire off his social media and stopped following her accounts. Additionally, he is rumored to have had small flings with Michelle Rodriguez, Nicki Minaj and Alexandra Storm in the past. He is currently single.
He was awarded the 92nd place on Forbes Celebrity 100 in 2008, with his net worth at that time being $5.8 million. This number rose quickly to a whopping $18 million today.
Efron sought treatment for substance abuse in early 2013 and has been sober since June 2013. In November 2013, Efron underwent surgery due to an accidental fall, which led to him having to have his jaw wired shut. Additionally, Efron engaged in a physical fight with a homeless man in Skid Row but was not arrested as police viewed the incident as a mutual combat.
Written by: Helena Lorimer