Meet the Buffalo Man Who Launched the Careers of Zac Efron + Vanessa Hudgens
Ever hear of "High School Musical"? Of course.
Michael Healy, who lived on the Buffalo-Cheektowaga boarder is a big reason that your kids and you have met Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. He was a journalist turned movie mogul and oversaw the development of original feature films for Disney Channel. His boss was Disney Channel chief executive Gary Marsh and was in charge of “High School Musical”, “Cheetah Girls" and “The Luck of the Irish”.
Originally, directors for "High School Musical" weren't too keen on having Efron star in the show because they wanted someone with more singing talent, but Healy convinced them to star Efron as the leading roll.
According to the Buffalo News:
"It was a matter of controversy,” Healy said. “My boss and I, thank God, were on the same page about it. But there were other people involved in that who didn’t want him, didn’t think he sang well enough, didn’t think – you know, there were real discussions. We won that one and got him cast in it. But we could have lost that one and I think the whole franchise would have been very different.”