Zac Efron

Zachary David Alexander Efron (/ˈɛfrɒn/; born October 18, 1987)[1] is an American actor and singer. He began acting professionally in the early 2000s and rose to prominence in the late 2000s for his leading role as Troy Bolton in the High School Musical trilogy (2006–2008). During this time, he also starred in the musical film Hairspray (2007) and the comedy film 17 Again (2009). Efron has since risen to mainstream prominence with starring roles in the films New Year's Eve (2011), The Lucky One (2012), The Paperboy (2012), Neighbors (2014), Dirty Grandpa (2016), Baywatch (2017), and The Greatest Showman (2017). He played Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019). In 2021, he won a Daytime Emmy Award for the Netflix web documentary series Down to Earth with Zac Efron (2020–present).

Zac Efron
Zac Efron at the Baywatch Red Carpet Premiere Sydney Australia.jpg
Efron at the premiere of Baywatch in 2017
Born
Zachary David Alexander Efron

(1987-10-18) October 18, 1987 (age 33)
Occupation
  • Actor
  • singer
Years active2002–present

Early life

Efron was born in San Luis Obispo, California,[2] and later moved to Arroyo Grande, California. His father, David Efron, is an electrical engineer at Diablo Canyon Power Plant, and his mother, Starla Baskett, is an administrative assistant who also works at Diablo Canyon.[3][4][5] Efron has a brother, Dylan,[1] and had, as he has described, a "normal childhood" in a middle-class family.[6] His surname originates from Hebrew.[7] His paternal grandfather is Jewish,[8] and Efron has described himself as Jewish[9] though he was raised agnostically and did not practice religion as a child.[10]

Efron has said that he would "flip out" if he got a "B" and not an "A" in school, as well as that he was a class clown.[11] Efron subsequently worked in the theater The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville,[12] 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).[13] Efron was later signed to the Creative Artists Agency.[14]

Efron graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in 2006[15] and was then accepted into the University of Southern California but did not enroll. He also attended Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, a theatre company operating out of Allan Hancock College, a community college located in Santa Maria, California, where he performed in 2000 and 2001.[16]

Career

2002–2009: Early career and High School Musical

Efron began acting in the early 2000s with guest roles on several television series including Firefly,[17] ER, and The Guardian. In 2004, he began appearing as a recurring character in the first season of the WB series Summerland.[18] For the show's second season, which aired in 2005, he was promoted to the main cast. He also appeared in some films, including the Lifetime television film Miracle Run (2004), for which he earned a Young Artist Award nomination for his performance as one of two autistic twins.

Efron's career reached a turning point with the teen musical television film High School Musical (2006), which premiered on the Disney Channel in January 2006. The film, which has been described as a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, saw Efron playing the male lead Troy Bolton, a high school basketball player who feels conflicted when he finds himself interested in participating in the school musical with Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), a girl from the scholastic decathlon team. The film, which also starred Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman in pivotal roles, became a major success and helped Efron gain recognition among teenage audiences. The film's soundtrack was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA,[19] making it one of the best-selling albums of the year in the United States. Efron's singing talents were disputed when it was revealed that his voice had been blended with Drew Seeley's on the soundtrack, but Efron clarified that the songs (written for a tenor) were written before he was cast and therefore did not suit his more baritone vocal range. In his subsequent musical films, Efron did his own singing.

Efron was next seen playing the role of Link Larkin in the musical comedy film Hairspray (2007), based on the 2002 Broadway musical of the same name. The film became a major commercial and critical success upon its release in July 2007. Later that year, he was seen reprising his role of Troy Bolton in High School Musical 2 (2007), which aired on the Disney Channel in August 2007.

Efron reprised his role of Troy Bolton in High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008), the first film in the High School Musical franchise to receive a theatrical release. The film became a major blockbuster at the box office, and received mixed to positive reviews from critics. He followed this with the commercially successful comedy 17 Again (2009) about a 37-year-old man (Matthew Perry) who is transformed into his 17-year-old self (Efron) after a chance accident.

2009–present: Other work and mainstream success

 
Efron in 2012

Efron's next release was Richard Linklater's period drama Me and Orson Welles, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2008 and received a wide release in late 2009. The film earned mostly positive reviews from critics. He next played the title role in the supernatural romantic drama Charlie St. Cloud (2010), which became a moderate success at the box office despite receiving mostly negative reviews from critics.

Efron next appeared as a part of the large ensemble cast in Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve (2011), which depicted a series of holiday vignettes of different groups of characters. The film received almost unanimously negative reviews from critics, but became a major success at the box office. He also played a supporting role in the critically successful Liberal Arts (2012), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012 and received a limited release later that year. He also starred alongside Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, David Oyelowo, and John Cusack in The Paperboy (2012), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012 and received a wider release later that year. The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics.

After lending his voice to the commercially successful computer-animated film The Lorax (2012), he appeared as the male lead in the romantic drama The Lucky One (2012), based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film became a major box office success despite negative reviews from critics. He also starred in the drama At Any Price, which premiered at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival, and the historical drama Parkland, which premiered at the 2013 Venice International Film Festival. Both of the films received mixed reviews from critics.

Efron's first release of 2014 was the romantic comedy That Awkward Moment, on which he was also an executive producer. The film, which starred Efron alongside Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan as three bachelors in New York City, became a moderate commercial success despite receiving mostly negative reviews from critics.

Later in 2014, Efron was seen in the adult comedy Neighbors (2014), co-starring Seth Rogen. The film revolved around a young couple, played by Rogen and Rose Byrne, who struggle to raise their baby daughter while living next to the house of a wild fraternity led by its president, played by Efron. The film became a major commercial success and earned mostly positive reviews from critics, who also added that Efron had successfully shed his "Disney pretty boy" image.[20]

Efron's only release in 2015 was the moderately successful We Are Your Friends (2015), in which he played a struggling DJ. In January 2016, he starred alongside Robert De Niro in the adult comedy Dirty Grandpa, about a straitlaced young man who begrudgingly indulges his grandfather's unhinged personality by taking him on a vacation to Florida. The film received mostly negative reviews from critics for its crude humor, but became a commercial success upon its release. He subsequently co-starred with Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Chloë Grace Moretz in the comedy sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, which became a commercial and critical success upon its release in May 2016. The film followed the same couple (Rogen and Byrne) who team up with their former rival (Efron) to take down a hard-partying sorority led by a freshman (Moretz). His third 2016 comedy, released in July, was Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, in which he co-starred with Adam DeVine (playing siblings), as well as Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza.

In 2017, Efron starred in Baywatch, an action comedy film version of the television series of the same name, released in May. The film features Dwayne Johnson and Efron with an ensemble cast, including Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Jon Bass, Ilfenesh Hadera, and Priyanka Chopra. Also in 2017, Efron had a supporting role in two biographical films released in December, The Disaster Artist, a comedy-drama directed by and starring James Franco, and, as Phillip, in the musical The Greatest Showman, opposite Hugh Jackman. Both were nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.[21][22]

In 2019, Efron played a drug-addled libertine in the Harmony Korine film The Beach Bum, opposite star Matthew McConaughey.[23] He also starred as serial killer Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, opposite Lily Collins as Bundy's girlfriend.[24] The film premiered at Sundance in early 2019 and was released by Netflix on May 3. Efron next voiced Fred Jones in Warner Bros.' 2020 Scooby-Doo animated film, Scoob!.[25]

In 2021, he won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Daytime Program Host for the Netflix web documentary series Down to Earth with Zac Efron.[26]

Upcoming projects

Efron will star in the survival thriller Gold directed by Anthony Hayes,[27] slated to release in 2021, and in the horror film Firestarter, a remake of the 1984 film based upon the novel of the same name by Stephen King, directed by Keith Thomas.[28]

Efron was slated star with his brother in a survival reality series called Kill the Efrons, where the pair were sent to remote parts of the world, for Quibi.[29]

Personal life

Efron was on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list in 2008 at number 92, with estimated earnings of $5.8 million from June 2007 to June 2008. In April 2009, his personal wealth equaled about $10 million.[30] In May 2015, Efron's net worth was $18 million.[31]

People magazine reported in 2007 that Efron and Vanessa Hudgens began dating in 2005 during the filming of High School Musical,[32][33][34] although Us magazine reported, after the two broke up in December 2010, that they "met in 2005 while making the first High School Musical flick, and became a romantic item about two years later."[35] Efron began a romantic relationship with model and entrepreneur Sami Miró in September 2014. The couple split in April 2016.[36][37]

Efron sought treatment in early 2013 after struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse. He has been sober since June 2013.[20] In November 2013, Efron had to have his jaw wired shut after breaking it in a fall at home.[38] In March 2014, Efron engaged in a fight with a homeless man in Skid Row. Law enforcement officials did not make any arrests because they viewed it as mutual combat.[39]

In 2010, Efron started his own production company under Warner Bros., Ninjas Runnin' Wild.[40] The company played a part in the production of his films Dirty Grandpa, That Awkward Moment, and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.[41] In 2019, Efron's brother Dylan, who also plays a role in the company, stated that Ninjas Runnin' Wild has started to produce more digital content in addition to their traditional film work.[42]

Efron announced the creation of his YouTube channel in March 2019.[43] The video sharing platform hosts two weekly series.[44] "Off the Grid" follows Efron and his brother Dylan as they participate in outdoor activities and trips without electronic devices—with the exception of a video camera in order to document their experiences.[45] "Gym Time" spotlights fitness and nutrition, with Efron informing his viewers that he plans to "train with celebrities, athletes, and interesting people".[44][46] YouTube received backlash for promoting Efron's new channel in a post made from their official Twitter account. Fans accused the platform of promoting a mainstream celebrity's account, which they feared would overshadow lesser known creators and would make it more difficult for them to "break through."[47]

Efron turned to transcendental meditation (TM) to help decompress after struggling to separate himself from his role as serial killer Ted Bundy in his movie. "I really love TM, transcendental meditation. I did TM on the way home. Not while driving, but when you're shooting a movie, one thing we can afford is a ride home, so on the way home I just do some TM and try to phase out of it."[48]

In December 2019, Efron contracted a serious and potentially life-threatening illness, a "form of typhoid or similar bacterial infection", while filming his adventure series Killing Zac Efron in Papua New Guinea. He was flown to St Andrews War Memorial Hospital in Australia and was treated before flying back home on Christmas Eve. He recovered with little issue.[49][50][51][52]

Filmography

Film

Key
  Denotes films that have not yet been released.
Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2003 Melinda's World Stuart Wasser [53]
2005 The Derby Stallion Patrick McCardle [54]
2007 Hairspray Link Larkin [55]
2008 High School Musical 3: Senior Year Troy Bolton [56]
Me and Orson Welles Richard Samuels [57]
2009 17 Again Mike O'Donnell [58]
2010 Charlie St. Cloud Charlie St. Cloud [59]
2011 New Year's Eve Paul [60]
2012 At Any Price Dean Whipple [61]
Liberal Arts Nat [62]
The Lorax Ted Wiggins (voice) [63]
The Lucky One Logan Thibault [64]
The Paperboy Jack Jansen [65]
2013 Parkland Dr. Charles James "Jim" Carrico [66]
2014 Neighbors Teddy Sanders [67]
That Awkward Moment Jason Also executive producer [68][69]
2015 We Are Your Friends Cole Carter [70]
2016 Dirty Grandpa Jason Kelly [71]
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Dave Stangle [72]
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Teddy Sanders [73]
2017 Baywatch Matt Brody [74]
The Disaster Artist Dan Janjigian / Chris-R [75]
The Greatest Showman Phillip Carlyle [76]
2019 The Beach Bum Flicker [77]
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Ted Bundy Also executive producer[78] [79]
2020 Scoob! Fred Jones (voice) [80]
2021 Save Ralph A rabbit (voice) Short film [81]
TBA Firestarter   Andy McGee Filming [82]
Gold   Post-production [83]
The Greatest Beer Run Ever   John "Chickie" Donohue Filming [84]

Television

Year(s) Title Role(s) Notes Ref.
2002 Firefly Young Simon Tam Episode: "Safe" [85]
2003 The Big Wide World of Carl Laemke Pete Laemke Television film [86]
ER Bobby Neville Episode: "Dear Abby" [87]
2004 Miracle Run Stephen Morgan Television film [88]
Triple Play Harry Fuller Television film [89]
2004–2005 Summerland Cameron Bale 16 episodes [90]
2005 CSI: Miami Seth Dawson Episode: "Sex & Taxes" [91]
2006 Heist Pizza Delivery Guy Episode: "Pilot" [92]
High School Musical Troy Bolton Television film [56]
If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now Cody Television film [93]
NCIS Daniel Austin Episode: "Deception" [94]
The Replacements Davey Hunkerhoff (voice) Episode: "Davey Hunkerhoff/Ratted Out" [95]
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Trevor Episode: "Odd Couples" [96]
2007 High School Musical 2 Troy Bolton Television film [56]
2009 Entourage Himself Episode: "Security Briefs" [97]
2009–2016 Robot Chicken Various roles (voice) 5 episodes [98]
2019 Human Discoveries Gary (voice) Main cast [99]
2020 Down to Earth with Zac Efron Himself [100]

Music videos

Year Title Performer(s) Album Ref.
2005 "Sick Inside" Hope Partlow Who We Are [101]
2007 "Say OK" Vanessa Hudgens V [102]

Discography

Singles

List of songs, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[103]
AUS
[104]
CAN
[103]
IRE
[105]
FRA
[106]
NZ
[107]
SPA
[108]
SWE
[109]
UK
[110]
"Breaking Free"
(with Drew Seeley and Vanessa Hudgens)
2006 4 13 17 4 9 High School Musical (soundtrack)
"Get'cha Head in the Game"
(with Drew Seeley)
23 125
"You Are the Music in Me"
(with Vanessa Hudgens)
2007 31 86 54 12 26 High School Musical 2 (soundtrack)
"Bet on It" 46 93 65
"Gotta Go My Own Way"
(with Vanessa Hudgens)
34 36 40
"Right Here, Right Now"
(with Vanessa Hudgens)
2008 119 137 High School Musical 3: Senior Year (soundtrack)
"Rewrite the Stars"
(with Zendaya)
2018 70 24 71 21 115 32 82 90 16 The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Other charted songs

List of songs, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[103]
AUS
[104]
CAN
[103]
IRE
[105]
FRA
[106]
NZ
[107]
UK
[110]
"Start of Something New"
(with Drew Seeley and Vanessa Hudgens)
2006 28 High School Musical (soundtrack)
"Ladies' Choice" 2007 96 Hairspray: Soundtrack to the Motion Picture
"Everyday"
(with Vanessa Hudgens)
65 High School Musical 2 (soundtrack)
"You Are the Music in Me (Reprise)"
(with Ashley Tisdale)
89
"Can I Have This Dance"
(with Vanessa Hudgens)
2008 98 84 81 High School Musical 3: Senior Year (soundtrack)
"Just Wanna Be with You"
(with Lucas Grabeel, Olesya Rulin, and Vanessa Hudgens)
153
"The Boys Are Back"
(with Corbin Bleu)
101 72 101
"The Greatest Show"
(with Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zendaya and The Greatest Showman Ensemble)
2017 88 42 34 110 [a] 20 The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"The Other Side"
(with Hugh Jackman)
54 48
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.
  1. ^ "The Greatest Show" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, but peaked at number 3 on the NZ Heatseeker Singles Chart.[118]

Awards and nominations

Award Year of ceremony Category Nominated work Result Ref.
ASTRA Awards 2008 Favourite International Personality or Actor High School Musical 2 Nominated [121]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2008 Best Acting Ensemble Hairspray Won [122]
CinemaCon 2016 Comedy Star of the Year
(shared with Anna Kendrick and Adam DeVine)
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Won [123]
Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 Outstanding Daytime Program Host Down to Earth with Zac Efron Won [26]
Outstanding Travel, Adventure and Nature Program Down to Earth with Zac Efron Nominated
Gold Derby Awards 2007 Best Ensemble Cast Hairspray Nominated [124]
Golden Raspberry Awards 2012 Worst Screen Ensemble New Year's Eve Nominated [125]
2018 Worst Actor Baywatch Nominated [126]
Hollywood Film Awards 2007 Ensemble Acting of the Year – Musical/Comedy Hairspray Nominated [127]
MTV Movie Awards 2008 Best Breakthrough Performance Hairspray Won [128]
2009 Best Male Performance High School Musical 3: Senior Year Won
Best Kiss
(shared with Vanessa Hudgens)
High School Musical 3: Senior Year Nominated
2010 Best Male Performance 17 Again Nominated
2011 Best Male Performance Charlie St. Cloud Nominated
2014 Best Shirtless Performance That Awkward Moment Won
2015 Best On-Screen Duo
(shared with Dave Franco)
Neighbors Won
Best Shirtless Performance Neighbors Won
Best Fight
(shared with Seth Rogen)
Neighbors Nominated
Best Musical Moment
(shared with Seth Rogen)
Neighbors Nominated
2017 Best Kiss
(shared with Anna Kendrick)
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Nominated [129]
Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards 2007 Fave Movie Star Hairspray Won [130]
2009 Fave Movie Star 17 Again Won [131]
2010 Cutest Couple
(shared with Vanessa Hudgens)
Won [132]
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2010 Favorite Movie Actor 17 Again Nominated [133]
Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards 2007 Best TV Actor High School Musical Won [134]
Palm Springs International Film Festival 2008 Best Ensemble Cast Hairspray Won [135]
People's Choice Awards 2009 Favorite Star Under 35 Nominated [136]
2011 Favorite Movie Star Under 25 Won [137]
2013 Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor The Lucky One Won [138]
2015 Favorite Comedic Movie Actor Neighbors Nominated [139]
2017 Favorite Comedic Movie Actor Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Nominated [140]
Saturn Awards 2019 Best Actor in Streaming Presentation Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Nominated [141]
Screen Actors Guild Awards 2008 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Hairspray Nominated [142]
ShoWest Convention 2009 Breakthrough Performer of the Year High School Musical 3: Senior Year Won [143]
Teen Choice Awards 2006 Choice Breakout TV Star High School Musical Won [144]
Choice TV Chemistry
(shared with Vanessa Hudgens)
High School Musical Won
2007 Choice Male Hottie Won [145]
2008 Choice Male Hottie Nominated [146]
Choice Red Carpet Fashion Icon – Male Nominated
2009 Choice Comedy Movie Actor 17 Again Won [147]
Choice Music/Dance Movie Actor High School Musical 3: Senior Year Won
Choice Movie Rockstar Moment 17 Again Won
Choice Movie Liplock
(shared with Vanessa Hudgens)
High School Musical 3: Senior Year Nominated
Choice Male Hottie Nominated
Choice Red Carpet Fashion Icon – Male Nominated
2010 Choice Summer Movie Actor Charlie St. Cloud Nominated [148]
Choice Male Hottie Nominated
Choice Red Carpet Fashion Icon – Male Nominated
Choice Smile Nominated
2011 Choice Red Carpet Fashion Icon – Male Won [149]
2012 Choice Drama Movie Actor The Lucky One Won [150]
Choice Romance Movie Actor The Lucky One Won
Choice Movie Voice The Lorax Nominated
Choice Movie Liplock
(shared with Taylor Schilling)
The Lucky One Nominated
2014 Choice Male Hottie Nominated [151]
2016 Choice Comedy Movie Actor Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Won [152]
Choice Movie Hissy Fit Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Nominated
2017 Choice Comedy Movie Actor Baywatch Won [153]
Choice MovieShip
(shared with Dwayne Johnson)
Baywatch Nominated
2018 Choice Drama Movie Actor The Greatest Showman Won [154]
Choice MovieShip
(shared with Zendaya)
The Greatest Showman Won
Choice Collaboration
(shared with Zendaya for "Rewrite the Stars")
The Greatest Showman Won
Choice Liplock
(shared with Zendaya)
The Greatest Showman Nominated
Choice Male Hottie Nominated
Young Artist Awards 2005 Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special – Supporting Young Actor Miracle Run Nominated [155]
2007 Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special (Comedy or Drama) – Leading Young Actor High School Musical Nominated [156]
Young Hollywood Awards 2014 Best Cast Chemistry – Film Neighbors Nominated [157]
Best Threesome
(shared with Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse)
Neighbors Nominated
Best Threesome
(shared with Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan)
That Awkward Moment Nominated

References

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