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Proving he can do more than just sing and be really, really good-looking, the California native has taken on several dramatic roles in the past several years, from "Me and Orson Welles" to "The Paperboy," to positive reviews. This Friday, however, Efron shows off his comedic chops in the raunchy rom-com "That Awkward Moment," opposite pals Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan.
Whether or not you've had a chance to see Efron of late, there's still much to know about the fast-rising star. From his unexpected hobby to his run-in with Hayden Panettiere, here are 17 things you probably don't know about Zac Efron.
1. Efron's father encouraged him to start acting when he was 11, which led him to high school plays and, later, singing lessons.
2. He was accepted into the University of Southern California, but deferred his enrollment to continue acting.
3. Efron's father is an electrical engineer at a power station, and his mother is a secretary who previously worked at the same power plant as his father.
4. The actor's first screen role was on the short-lived cult show "Firefly" in 2002.
5. In 2009, Efron voiced several roles on Cartoon Network's "Robot Chicken," a hit show co-created by Seth Green.
6. In 2007, he starred in the music video for Vanessa Hudgens's single "Say OK." The actors were dating at the time, resulting in Efron playing Hudgen's love interest in the video.
7. Efron got "Punk'd" by Hayden Panettiere in 2012, thinking he was getting arrested for a hit and run he did not commit. Efron previously got "Punk'd" in 2007, following the success of "High School Musical."
8. In 2013, the actor received treatment for issues with drugs and alcohol. By December 2013, Efron had been six months sober.
9. His favorite movie is "The Goonies" (1985).
10. Efron dated "High School Musical" co-star Vanessa Hudgens from 2007 to 2010 (reports vary on when their relationship began).
11. In August 2007, Efron appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. In the article, the actor revealed he wished to one day play an action hero.
12. Hudgens and Efron's duet "Breaking Free" from "High School Musical" jumped from No. 86 to No. 4 on the Billboard chart in just one week, making it the fastest climb in the history of the Billboard Hot 100.
13. In his spare time, Efron enjoys fixing up cars and has repaired two to date, a Delorean and a '65 Mustang convertible. Both were hand-me-downs from his grandfather.
14. He turned down a record deal from Simon Cowell, saying that acting was his main priority.
15. Apparently, Efron learned to ride a motorcycle from Tom Cruise after the two bumped into each other at a party.
16. "Efron" means "lark" -- a type of bird -- in Hebrew. The actor's paternal great grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland.
17. After the popularity of "High School Musical," Efron was forced to change his phone number after receiving numerous calls from fervent fans.
[Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, OK!]