With his dreamy blue eyes and sexy smile, Efron became an instant teen heartthrob when he played a high-school basketball star who discovers his love for singing, dancing and an unpopular classmate in Disney's smash 2006 TV-movie High School Musical. The up-and-coming actor had a similar revelation off screen at age 11, when he began appearing in community theater productions of musicals such as Mame and The Music Man. In the 2000s, he began racking up small-screen guest spots, and even had a regular role on the short-lived drama Summerland. But Efron started realizing his true potential under Disney's tutelage, headlining HSM and appearing on the station's popular teen series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. In 2007, he made a splash as an Elvis-like star in the movie musical Hairspray. Later in the decade, he turned to dramatic parts in such films as Me and Orson Welles and 17 Again.
- Began acting in community theater when he was 11.
- Accepted to University of Southern California, but deferred his spot in order to concentrate on acting.
- Duet with Vanessa Hudgens, "Breaking Free" (from High School Musical), jumped from No. 86 to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in one week, the biggest leap at that point in the chart's history.