april-6.jpgBefore he became the in-demand actor and moviemaker he is today, Zach Braff spent his youth in South Orange, New Jersey, where he was born on this day in 1975. While audiences might have first recognized him for his acting chops, Braff traveled to the top by way of Northwestern University. He graduated from the school’s reputable film program with a Bachelor of Arts and soon after took a turn alongside Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett in the NY Public Theater’s production of “Macbeth.” His feature film debut came as the son to seasoned professionals Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Manhattan Murder Mystery. Before entering America’s homes each week as J.D. on the NBC sitcom “Scrubs,” the actor took parts in indie mockumentary Endsville and the ensemble dramedy The Broken Hearts Club, plus opposite Heather Matarazzo in 1999’s Getting to Know You and 2000’s Blue Moon. His next film, The Ex, co-stars Amanda Peet as the breadwinning wife who trades family for career and leaves her husband to deal with the changes.

Factoid: Zach Braff finally had the clout (and a great script to boot) when he put his BA to work on Garden State. The moviemaker wrote, directed and starred in his first feature along with Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm. The 2004 film and its screenplay were recognized by numerous Critics Choice Awards, the Grammys (for Best Compilation Soundtrack, produced by Braff), the Independent Spirit Awards and Sundance.