Is Zac Efron Leonard Whiting’s love child?

Cover of "Romeo & Juliet"
Cover of Romeo & Juliet

Honestly, I’ve no idea, but the girls at my school are wondering.

This term we’re studying Romeo and Juliet in Yr 9 English. We’ve been sharing our thoughts about the play on our shared Ning and have watched the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version of the play in class to help with our understanding. There’s no doubt tackling Shakespeare’s language is difficult when you first confront it; we have to be mindful that it is a play meant to be performed, not read.   

An observation we’ve made (and I have to admit I was the first to raise it with my class!) is the uncanny resemblance Zac Efron has to Leonard Whiting who plays Romeo in the 1968 film.  

I’ve been out to dinner tonight and took a look at the Ning when I got home to see if there was any activity I needed to follow up. What I discovered was a forum post that’s been added by the students, Leonard Whiting (Romeo) vs Zac Efron.  They’ve posed this question for consideration;

Were these two separated at birth? (Or father and son?)

and added attachments with pictures of Leonard and Zac.  So far seven students have replied. My favourite is this;

Totally, Leonard could be Zac’s Father…

and do you think that Romeo and Juliet and High School musical are related?

Now, some might say this isn’t the kind of discussion topic noteworthy of inclusion. I couldn’t disagree more. For a start, it was a discussion initiated by the students around something that has sprung from what we are doing at school. This isn’t the first time this has happened. The students are adding their own forum topics quite regularly.  What it is, is a demonstration of the community that has formed around this Ning. The students are using it as a focus point for discussion; they are relaxed in the space and feel at ease sharing their opinions.    

I love it. It’s confirmed for me once again why a participatory learning culture is important; we are human beings who need to interact, we don’t need to work in isolation and many of us don’t want to. Why should our classrooms operate as islands when we can form archipelagoes?   

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21 Replies to “Is Zac Efron Leonard Whiting’s love child?”

  1. It is uncanny how much they look alike and i would bet all my money that somewhere up in there family tree’s they connect in some way maybe a great great great great grandfather i dunno but they are not brothers (note the last name) nor are they father and son (note the last name again) but somewhere along the line they are most likely related in one way or another no doubt about it.

    1. i think so i think taht leonard whiting is zac efrons grand father becuase some of my friends in class think that they are related somehow

      1. I researched it, over and over, and they aren’t related. Leonard Whiting only had i think one kid, who isn’t zac efrons mother. This actually really upset me , but is interesting, because this shows that out there, there is someone who looks like you. Honestly, the resmblance is unbeliveable.

  2. At the moment my Yr10 class is watching this version of Romeo And Juliet, and the first thing all of us said was that ‘Romeo looks just like Zac Efron’. Quite amazing really to see that so many people see the resemblance

    1. Here’s the translation to the comment below, thanks to Google Translate.

      It is true that Zac is a lot like Leonardo. But to my Leonardo always be more beautiful, because it also looked a lot like my favorite cousin!

      Jenny : )

  3. I have to say I’m not convinced. While the two men do perhaps share some similar facial features, look at the expression in the eyes. That’s where the resemblance ends. Whiting’s eyes at 17 were warm, soulful, sensitive, suggesting hidden depths. He comes across as trustworthy and genuine. By contrast, Efron’s eyes appear cold, flat and inauthentic. His demeanor feels plastic and off-putting. If there is a connection between these two, I’d be willing to bet it has nothing to do with character.

    1. i agree with that completely. the old saying says that the eyes are window to the soul, leonard must be a warm, soulful sensitive man. i’d love to meet him someday. i like efron too, but not as much as leonard 🙂

  4. Of course they aren’t related! But a close resemblance. I’ve known Len for years since the filming of R&J and Zac is not his ‘love child’!

    1. Since you know Leonard Whiting, did he ever tell you anything about the making of Romeo and Juliet? What it was like behind the scenes during the filming? I think that would be a fascinating story, the day to day things, working with his costars…any little thing would be a treat . There is hardly anything written about that. People are very interested in “backstories” of filming and that would be huge. He could be very successful, so many people would buy it.

  5. whatever, z.e. looks like a girl. leonard’s statuesque bone structure’s got nothin on that girl. i mean, guy.

  6. I think that it’s almost impossible for Leonard Whiting to be Zac Efron’s grandfather as there’s only about 35 years between them in ages.

    1. My grand”mother” had my mom at 17. My grandfather was 30 something. He would go to jail if that happened today! Back then the family just considered it one less mouth to feed and he could take care of her. I was born when she was 34. My grandmother had a new husband and 3 new children by then. The youngest was a two year old. When I was teaching just a few years ago one of my students was pregnant at the same time as her mom. The girl was 15. Her mom was 30. So though it’s rare it’s not impossible for a 35 year old to be a grandparent.

  7. There are many websites devoted to Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet. You’ll find lots of candid, behind-the-scenes photos of the actors. YouTube is another place to find photos. YouTube also has a short video showing a portion of an interview with Olivia and Leonard, wherein you’ll see a definite chemistry between the two stars.

  8. This is so weird. I only watched Romeo and Juliet for the very first time with Leonard Whiting in it. I had to keep checking the date cause Zac Efron looks just like him. They have to be relate somehow. I wouldn’t disagree at all if they had some similar relative.

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