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Zac Efron is a Hollywood heartthrob who appears in films and on television, most 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 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,
which became the most-watched event in cable television history in 2007.
In addition to High School Musical 2, Efron also appeared in the big-screen remake of John Waters' Hairspray (1988) in 2007. 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 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. 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 the lead role in Richard Linklater's drama Me and Orson Welles (2008) and hosted Saturday Night Live in 2009, to positive reviews.
While filming the light-hearted comedy 17 Again (2009), Efron had a near-fatal experience on the set. Efron was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy while shooting the role-reversal film with co-stars Matthew Perry and Leslie Mann. He returned to the set a mere two days after surgery to resume shooting. He followed the film with consistent roles that were geared towards a younger audience, including Charlie St. Cloud (2010) and The Lorax (2012).
In 2012, Efron began to play more mature roles, finally shedding his Disney image. That year, he took on the lead role yet again in the film The Lucky One, opposite Taylor Schilling. Efron played a soldier stationed in Iraq who believes that a photo he finds of a woman he doesn't know, played by Schilling, is the reason that he's been able to survive. Although the film didn't receive favorable reviews, Efron was recognized for his attempt at leaving his sqeaky clean image behind.
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