Shia LaBeouf decided, during his preteen years, to launch himself as an actor, and stories abound concerning how far he carried his own drive to establish himself. According to People Weekly magazine, LaBeouf auditioned for Even Stevens (2000), the Disney Channel series that delivered him into the spotlight, and subsequently told each of the youngsters who were waiting to audition that he had the part -- thus eliminating the competition. Such determination, coupled with raw ability and charisma, doubtless helped propel LaBeouf straight to the head of Hollywood's young stars.
Born on June 11, 1986, in Los Angeles, LaBeouf grew up in the neighborhood of Echo Park, and was raised in a decidedly colorful family of mixed ethnicity. His Cajun father, Jeffrey LaBeouf, was a Vietnam vet who held a series of odd jobs as a circus clown, a sno-cone salesman, and a stand-up comic. Shia's Jewish mother, Shayna, worked as a clothier and jewelry craftswoman. Upset about his mother's financial struggles after his parents split, Shia observed another boy of about the same age (a cast member of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) whose financial returns from Quinn gave him a posh lifestyle. LaBeouf suddenly understood the financial benefits of before-the-camera work, and -- though he had no formal dramatic training -- foresaw himself breaking into acting via comedy. He used a phone book to find an agent, then honed a stand-up comedy act over the course of two years, that found him (at age 12) delivering "blue" routines to adult audiences at a Pasadena comedy club, The Ice House. By his own admission, LaBeouf was booted out of every school he attended (for his notoriously profane mouth and for other reasons), but he more than compensated for this with his professional drive. By 2000, he auditioned for the Even Stevens series on Disney, and landed the part.