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Zac Efron is a teen heartthrob who appears in films and on TV, notably in the High School Musical films.
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Offers for acting roles and record deals followed, but Efron declined. He chose instead to take time off to refine his focus and graduate from high school.
Controversy later erupted when sources disclosed that Efron wasn't actually responsible for voicing his High School Musical songs, and that Canadian singer-songwriter Drew Seeley was the actual voice behind the role. As a result,
Efron made it a contractual point to ensure that his voice appeared unaided on songs for High School Musical 2(2007), which became the most-watched show in cable TV history.
In 2007, Efron also appeared in the big-screen remake of John Waters' Hairspray (1988). Director Adam Shankman nearly passed on Efron for the role of golden boy Link Larkin—reportedly, Shankman initially felt Efron was "too Disney"—but he later reconsidered. Appearing alongside John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, and Queen Latifah, Efron once again thrilled his fans, and helped the film earn nearly $119 million domestically. Additionally, he was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, which dubbed him "The New American Heartthrob."
In an effort to avoid typecasting, Efron decided to make a departure from musicals; he's avoided helming remakes of such song-and-dance films as Footloose (1984). However, to honor his fans, he agreed to appear in High School Musical 3 (2008), the final installment of the trilogy. Since then, he has performed in a leading role in Richard Linklater's drama Me and Orson Welles (2008) and hosted Saturday Night Live to positive reviews.
Efron recently had a near-fatal experience on the set of the light-hearted comedy 17 Again (2009); while shooting the role-reversal film with co-stars Matthew Perry and Leslie Mann, Efron was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. He returned to the set a mere two days after surgery to resume shooting. The film is currently in theaters.
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