Northern California native Zac Efron began his career onstage at the age of 11, playing a singing newsboy in a professional production of the musical Gypsy. His father had encouraged him to try out, after hearing Zac sing along with the radio. That led to appearances in stage productions such as Peter Pan, Mame, Little Shop of Horrors and The Music Man.
At 14, he began to break into television with guest appearances on series such as Firefly, ER, The Guardian and CSI Miami, as well as roles in TV movies such as The Big Wide World of Carl Laemke (2003), Triple Play (2004) and Miracle Run (2004), for which he was nominated for a Young Artist Award for his portrayal of an autistic boy.
In 2004, he began playing a recurring role on the WB series Summerland. His role gradually became larger and by the second season, he was a regular member of the cast. After the series ended, he landed a starring role as Troy Bolton in the Disney Channel TV musical movie High School Musical. It went on to become Disney Channel's most successful movie, with 7.7 million viewers during its premiere broadcast, while the soundtrack became the best-selling album of 2006. For his part, Zac won two Teen Choice Awards—Choice TV Breakout Star and TV Chemistry (with co-star Vanessa Anne Hudgens).
The movie led to High School Musical - The Concert, featuring all the stars from the original cast—that is, everyone but Zac, who was filming a plum role as a teen heartthrob in the movie musical Hairspray (2007) in Toronto at the time. However, he returned for the sequel, High School Musical 2 and the big screen release, High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
Hoping to steer away from singing and dancing roles, Efron next starred in two very different films. He starred in the Warner Bros. film 17 Again, a Big-like dramedy in which a 36-year-old man, in need of a major life do-over, wakes up in the body of a high-school senior. The film opened No. 1 at the box office and also starred Matthew Perry and Leslie Mann. Efron also starred in the Richard Linklater film Me and Orson Welles, an adaptation of the period coming-of-age novel by Robert Kaplow. Efron portrayed a high-school student who happens upon the yet-to-open Mercury Theatre and is then noticed by Orson Welles. Efron starred in the film alongside Ben Chaplin and Claire Danes, and it debuted to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Although he'd signed on to play Kevin Bacon's role in a remake of Footloose, he backed out on a technicality.
Following that, he took on what was the most dramatic role of his career to date—playing a young man overcome by grief at the death of his younger brother in Charlie St. Cloud. He's also appeared in a string of other blockbusters, including New Year's Eve (2011), the voice of the lead character Ted in Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012), The Lucky One (2012) and At Any Price (2013). He also starred in Parkland(2013), That Awkward Moment (2014) and Neighbors (2014). More recently, he starred in Dirty Grandpa (2016) with Robert De Niro, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016), Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016), and The Disaster Artist (2017) and Baywatch (2017) with Dwayne Johnson. He played a pivotal role the film The Greatest Showman (2017) opposite Hugh Jackman. His duet with Zendaya from the film, "Rewrite the Stars," wound up on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
He played a supporting role in the indie film The Beach Bum (2019) with Matthew McConaughey and filmed a starring role as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy in the biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019).
Zac provided the voice of Fred in the animated film SCOOB! (2020) and stars in his own Netflix reality mini-series, Down to Earth with Zac Efron (2020).
For his first time playing a parent, Zac played the father of a little girl with pyrokinetic abilities in Firestarter (2022).
In his spare time, Zac relaxes by surfing, skateboarding, golfing, fixing up cars and hanging out with friends. He also enjoys horseback riding, since learning to ride for the video release The Derby Stallion (2005) and shooting hoops, after undergoing extensive basketball training for his role as a jock in High School Musical.
In 2007, he was named one of People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People. Zac has expressed a desire to one day continue his career behind the camera.
Scooby-Doo: A New Universe (2020)
The Beach Bum (2019)
The Greatest Showman (2017)
The Disaster Artist (2017)
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
Dirty Grandpa (2016)
We Are Your Friends (2015)
That Awkward Moment (2014)
At Any Price (2012)
The Paperboy (2012)
The Lucky One (2012)
The Lorax (2012)
Liberal Arts (2012)
New Year's Eve (2011)
Charlie St. Cloud (2010)
17 Again (2009)
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)
Me and Orson Welles (2008)
High School Musical 2 (2007)
High School Musical (2006)
The Derby Stallion (2005)