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Paul Rudd is an American actor and film producer who became a minor teen idol with his break-out performance in the 1995 film Clueless and went on to star in numerous comedies.
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American actor and film producer Paul Rudd became a minor teen idol with his break-out performance in the 1995 film Clueless. His other early credits include Wet Hot American Summer, Cider House Rules and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. He also landed a recurring role in the television series Friends as Phoebe's husband. Rudd has since become a full-fledged comedy film star.
Actor Paul Rudd was born on April 9, 1969, in Passaic, New Jersey, to British parents. Rudd traveled frequently with his family, but grew up primarily in Kansas City, Missouri. Harboring a keen interest in the theatre, he enrolled at the University of Kansas to study drama and, after two years of honors work, earned the Spencer Tracy Scholarship to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles.
Upon entering Oxford University's British Drama Academy for a three-month workshop, Paul helped produce the Globe Theater's production of Howard Brenton's Bloody Poetry under the guidance of Michael Kahn, then portrayed the title role in Hamlet, directed by celebrated actor Ben Kingsley.
Returning to the U.S. in the early 1990s, Paul moved straight into a recurring television role as aspiring filmmaker Kirby Philby on NBC's weekly drama, Sisters, opposite Ashley Judd. After appearing in several TV miniseries, Rudd co-starred in the short-lived Fox sitcom Wild Oats (1994), then made his feature film debut as protagonist Tommy Doyle in the latest Halloween series installment, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers. He humbly told the New York Post about his first film role, "Even when I was doing it, I knew this was something I'd always be teased about."
Despite Rudd's television exposure, most people first remember seeing the actor as the college-aged stepbrother of Cher, played by Alicia Silverstone, who eventually becomes the object of her picky affection, in the 1995 hit comedy Clueless. After appearing in the independent film The Size of Watermelons and opposite Reese Witherspoon in the straight-to-video Overnight Delivery, Rudd landed the role of Dave Paris, Juliet's pompous suitor, in Baz Luhrmann's stylish rendition of Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
In 1997, Rudd made his Broadway debut as Joe Farkas in the acclaimed play, The Last Night Of Ballyhoo, written by Alfred Uhry. He took a break from Broadway to make the light-hearted comedy The Object Of My Affection, playing a gay man opposite Jennifer Aniston, but resumed the Farkas role after the film's completion. In October 1997, Rudd was nominated for a FANY Award (People's Choice Awards For the Broadway Theatre) for his performance.
He continued his theatre work as Duke Orsino, opposite Helen Hunt's Viola in Shakespeare's Twelth Night, which was broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center series. Later that year, he appeared opposite Ben Affleck, Courtney Love and Janeane Garofalo as the latter's jilted, chain-smoking lover in the romantic indie comedy 200 Cigarettes.
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