Tweenybopper heartthrob Zac Efron skyrocketed to stardom when the Disney Channel flick he starred in, High School Musical, enjoyed unprecedented success for a made-for-TV movie. Its soundtrack, released in January 2006, shot to Number One on the Billboard albums chart and produced several Top 40 singles associated with Efron's character, Troy Bolton. The album eventually went quadruple platinum, selling more than 4 million copies.
Born Zachary David Alexander Efron on October 18th, 1987, in San Luis Obispo, California, the squeaky-clean actor spent his childhood in Arroyo Grande, California. His parents encouraged his interest in theater and Efron performed in school plays before graduating from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in 2001. After his drama teacher recommended him to an agent in Los Angeles, the youngster began landing roles on television series including ER, Firefly and The Guardian. In 2003 he starred in a Lifetime Original movie, Miracle Run, playing an autistic child, and was nominated for a Young Artist Award. The following year his recurring character in the WB series Summerland became a regular. In 2005, he starred in a music video by teen-pop singer Hope Partlow and also appeared in the feature film The Derby Stallion. His raised profile landed him the role of jock/thespian Troy Bolton in High School Musical, which became a popular-culture phenomenon the following year.
After three of his character's songs from the movie — "Breaking Free" (Number Four, 2006), "Get'cha Head in the Game" (Number 23, 2006) and "Start of Something New" (Number 28, 2006) — appeared on the Billboard Hot 100, Efron met with minor controversy when it was revealed he had lip-synched to the voice of Drew Seeley and only contributed a small portion of vocals on some of the songs. He is an accomplished singer, though, which he made clear in his performances in the Broadway musical version of John Waters' Hairspray and its 2007 cinematic follow-up, as well as his non-lip-synched numbers in the 2007 sequel High School Musical 2 (Number One, 2007). That soundtrack spawned the Efron-sung singles "Bet on It" (Number 46, 2007), "Gotta Go My Own Way" (Number 34, 2007) and "You Are the Music In Me" (Number 31, 2007). That year, Efron made it on to People magazine's list of the 100 Most Beautiful People. In 2008, he was slated to appear in three movies: the teen flick 17 Again, Me And Orson Welles and the third installment of High School Musical.