June 12, 1985
Palo Alto, California, USA
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Dave Franco isn't a jerk -- he just played one on "Scrubs" (NBC, 2001-2010); and in the popular remake of "21 Jump Street" (2012); and in his Funny or Die videos with "Superbad" co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse and brother James Franco. His snarky cool and sarcastic wit were also on display in his roles as a whipsmart teen on "Privileged" (The CW, 2008-09) and a Muppet-obsessed frat boy on "Greek" (ABC Family, 2007-2011), as well as his work as a writer and director on numerous videos for the Internet comedy site Funny or Die (his infamous "Go F*ck Yourself" video is particularly popular). Franco may not share his brother's sense of meta-theatricality, but his ambition and creativity are definitely a family trait.
Born during a sunny California summer in 1985, Franco grew up the youngest of three brothers in a liberal family active in academic and artistic pursuits; his paternal grandmother Marjorie was a published author, and his mother Betsy was a writer and actress who encouraged her sons' creativity. Middle brother Tom went on to become a sculptor, while the eldest, James, became James Franco, Oscar-nominated actor, NYU professor and general creative oddball. In fact, it was James' manager who coerced Dave into taking a drama class at the University of Southern California, which led the college sophomore to switch gears from creative writing to acting.
After making his debut on an episode of the long-running family drama "7th Heaven" (The CW, 1996-2007), Franco landed a small but memorable role in the breakout 2007 hit "Superbad," and was cast opposite Jerry O'Connell as a laidback bellhop in the quickly-cancelled sitcom "Do Not Disturb" (Fox, 2008). He portrayed Zach, a nerd with a romantic streak, on several episodes of the teen drama "Privileged" before landing a prime role in the final season of "Scrubs" as Cole Aaronson, a wealthy med student who buys his way into an internship at Sacred Heart Hospital.
Though he was wary of being caught in his brother's ever-elongating shadow, Franco worked with James on several projects; in 2010 he directed and starred in a five-part video interview of the "127 Hours" (2010) star for Esquire, and the pair collaborated on several Funny or Die videos, including a satirical instructional series entitled "Acting with James Franco" (2009). That year also saw the end of the quirky medical sitcom "Scrubs" and the beginning of Franco's transition to Hollywood. His role as Zac Efron's best friend in the romantic drama "Charlie St. Cloud" (2010) kicked off a string of performances that highlighted his deft physicality and dry humor; chief among them were his obnoxious high school bully in "Fright Night" (2011) and his drug-dealer-with-daddy-issues in "21 Jump Street," starring Channing Tatum. After becoming zombie fodder in the undead romance "Warm Bodies" (2013), Franco signed on to play a bank-robbing magician in the star-studded caper "Now You See Me" (2013).