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Childhood

Born in San Luis Obispo before soon moving to Arroyo Grande, Zac's upbringing has been described as being typically Californian. With both parents working at a local power plant, his upbringing was typically middle class with both him and his younger brother, Dylan, attending Arroyo Grande High School. At age 11, Zac's father encouraged him to take part in the school's drama society. Discovering a taste for theatre, Efron appeared in many school productions as well as working with The Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville theatre and taking up singing lessons. Here he was noticed by his drama teacher and recommended to an agent who signed him on, eventually having him join the Creative Arts Agency. While he was still attending Arroyo Grande High, Efron attended the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts which further boosted his skills and gained him several useful contacts he would use in the near future.

Career

From 2002, Efron started to appear in guest roles on several TV shows including CSI: Miami, ER and Firefly as well as feature roles in made for TV movies such as The Derby Stallion and Miracle Run, in which he starred as an autistic twin. This performance gained him a nomination for best performance in a TV movie, mini-series or special at the Young Artist Award. Also, at this time, Efron starred in WB's Summerland as Cameron Bale. It was around this time that Disney gained an interest in him, gaining him guest roles in some of their more popular shows such as The Replacements and The Suite Life of Zach & Cody.

This led to Zac being cast as in the lead role of Troy Bolton in the Disney Channel original movie, High School Musical. The movie was originally made with low expectations, as with most of the other Disney Channel original movies that air. However, the movie proved to be an overnight smash for the channel, launching Efron into the spotlight as a teen sensation. Winning awards around the globe and having five different songs with his name credited in the charts at once, Zac was now a star and made his Hollywood debut within a year of the High School Musical release as Link Larkin in the big screen adaptation of Hairspray.

Zac Efron as Link Larkin
Due to his involvement in the film, Efron was absent from the High School Musical tour and was replaced by Drew Seeley. Around this time, it was revealed that in High School Musical itself, Efron's voice was mixed with that of Seely, casting doubts on his actual singing talent. However, it was soon confirmed by Disney that the songs had been written before Efron was attached to the project and so all the songs were in the tenor vocal range while Zac is a baritone.

In 2007, Efron reprised his role as Troy in the High School Musical sequel: High School Musical 2. While this was critically less successful, it was the most watched show on basic cable with over 17 million viewers. At this time, several websites including IMDb and Lycos announced that Efron was the most searched for celebrity. Almost instantly, Disney capitalised on his popularity and signed him up for High School Musical 3: Senior Year which was to be the first cinema release of the series and also the last time Efron would appear in a High School Musical. 
 
Efron followed this up with two movies in 2008: 17 Again and Me and Orson Welles. 17 Again proved to be a commercial success with a gross of $136 million off a $20 million budget. This wasn't the case for Me and Orson Welles which only received a limited screening before going to DVD. It did, however, become critically successful with Efron's performance being praised by many critics and his co-star, Christian McKay, went on to earn a BAFTA award nomination for his performance as the titular Orson Welles.

Video Games

Zac has not participated directly in the creation of any games, however, he has lent his likeness and voice, taken from the sountracks to the films, to the High School Musical video games.

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