Zachary David Alexander "Zac" Efron (born October 18, 1987) is an American actor, singer, and dancer. He began acting professionally in the early 2000s, and became known to young audiences after his roles in the Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical, the WB series Summerland, and the 2007 film version of the Broadway musical Hairspray. In 2007, before the release of High School Musical 2, Rolling Stone declared him the "poster boy for tweenyboppers" and featured him in their late August 2007 issue. Efron has since starred in the films 17 Again, Me and Orson Welles, and Charlie St. Cloud, and is due to star in New Year's Eve and The Lucky One.
Efron was born in San Luis Obispo, California, and later moved to Arroyo Grande, California. His father, David Efron, is an engineer at a power plant, and his mother, Starla Baskett, is a former secretary who worked at the same power plant. Efron has a younger brother, Dylan, and had a self-described "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. Efron's father encouraged him to begin acting when Efron was 11 years old. He subsequently appeared in theater productions at his high school, worked in a theater called The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville, and began taking singing lessons. Efron performed in plays 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.