David, an electrical engineer, and Starla Baskett, a former secretary, welcome son, Zachary David Alexander Efron. Younger brother Dylan soon joins the family, who lives in Arroyo Grande, Calif., 190 miles north of L.A.
Efron, 11, tries out for a minor role in the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA) musical Gypsy and lands the part. "From day one, I got addicted to being on stage and getting the applause and laughter," he tells his hometown newspaper The San Luis Obispo Tribune in 2006. He goes on to audition for a slew of local plays, and undertakes singing lessons and drama classes.
Efron and his mother Starla drive to L.A. three days a week for auditions, while he studies at Arroyo Grande High School in San Luis Obispo, Calif. "For every role that I have done on TV and movies, I've auditioned for 30 or 40," he tells the Tribune. The young actor makes the jump from local plays to national TV with TV series guest spots on Firefly, ER and The Guardian.