Zac got hooked on acting back in high school, when he performed in high school musicals like “Little Shop of Horrors.” (Noel Vasquez / Getty Images)
Zac’s drama teacher knew he had something special, and helped him land an agent. Soon enough, Zac was popping up on shows like “ER” and “CSI: Miami.”
Pictured: Efron in Lifetime’s “Miracle Run.” (Lifetime)
When Zac scored a role in the Disney TV movie “High School Musical,” he became a household name. He raked in awards and accolades, not to mention fan mail. (Disney)
In “High School Musical,” Zac sang, acted, and left a trail of broken hearts in his wake. Sorry ladies, hes taken; Zac is dating his High School Musical co-star, Vanessa Hudgens. (Disney)
Despite his instant success, Zac managed to stay grounded.
“I could show you 500 kids in L.A. who are my height, weight, hair color and age, Zac told The Toronto Star. We’re a dime a dozen. Why did I get the parts I did? Who knows? But the minute I start thinking it’s because I was special, that’s when I know I’m in trouble.” (Chris Pizzello / AP)
After the success of High School Musical, the sequel, Disneys High School Musical 2", became the most watched basic cable program in history. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Zac discussed an uncomfortable subject with surprising candor: “I didn’t even sing on the first album. It wasn’t my voice in the movie. Even though I wanted to do it.” Zac insisted that he provide his own vocals for “High School Musical 2.” (Disney)
Zac’s wave of success continued when he was cast in the hit remake of “Hairspray.” Roger Ebert expressed the sentiments of many movie-goers when he said, “‘Hairspray’ is just plain fun.” (New Line Cinema)
After the success of the first two installments, “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” was the first to premiere on the big screen. The film opened to the tune of $42 million. A fourth film is reportedly in the works sans Efron. (John Bramley / Disney Enterprises)
Efron and his “High School Musical” co-star Vanessa Hudgens have been dating since 2005.
The actor recently fessed up to Elle magazine that his mom filled his Christmas stocking with condoms. “She buys me the economy box,” he said. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Efron and girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens performed at the 2009 Academy Awards. The two took the stage for a medley dedicated to musicals alongside host Hugh Jackman and Beyonce, among others. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Efron’s post-"HSM” film, " 17 Again,” is about a frustrated husband and father (played by Matthew Perry) who magically wakes up as his teenage self (played by Efron).
Described as “a reverse ‘Big,’” the movie pairs him with “Igby Goes Down” director Burr Steers and actress Leslie Mann (pictured). (Chuck Zlotnick / New Line Cinema)
Efron starred opposite Claire Danes in the Richard Linklater drama “Me and Orson Welles” in 2009. The drama was a bit of a change of direction for Efron and might explain why he dropped out of the “Footloose” remake. The film opened to rave reviews, but Efron was ultimately overshadowed in the press by the film’s Orson Welles -- played by newcomer Christian McKay. (Liam Daniel / CinemaNX Films ONe)
Efron is branching out again, this time with a tear-jerker called “Charlie St. Cloud.” He plays a sailor who loses his brother in a car accident involving a drunk driver. Charlie gives up sailing, opting to stay home and play catch with his dead brother played by Charlie Tahan, right. (Diyah Pera / Universal Pictures)