A charming funnyman known for his seemingly endless reservoir of improvisational wit, Paul Rudd has morphed from a dependable supporting player to a successful comedy lead to unlikely action hero with a spot on the ever-expanding Marvel Studios roster.
Born in Passaic, N.J., in 1969, Rudd moved with his family to Overland Park, Kan., at age 10. He also spent several years of his childhood in Anaheim.
After graduating from the University of Kansas and briefly studying drama in the United Kingdom, Rudd made his acting debut in 1992 on the NBC drama "Sisters" and later appeared on six episodes of Fox's 1994 series "Wild Oats."
His feature debut arrived in the form of 1995's "Clueless," a surprise box office hit starring Alicia Silverstone that spotlighted Rudd's easygoing and gently mocking persona. He spent the late '90s playing supporting roles in such diverse films as "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" (1995), "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" (1996), "The Object of My Affection" (1998) and "200 Cigarettes" (1999). He also starred alongside Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine and Charlize Theron in 1999's "The Cider House Rules," which was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for ensemble acting.
The dawn of the new millennium brought Rudd two of his most memorable comedy roles, as the self-centered camp counselor Andy in the 2001 cult film "Wet Hot American Summer" and as Phoebe's (Lisa Kudrow) boyfriend Mike Hannigan on 18 episodes of NBC's long-running hit "Friends."
In 2003, Rudd married Julie Yaeger with whom he had a son, Jack Sullivan (in 2006), and a daughter, Darby (in 2010).
Rudd started a string of collaborations with prolific comedy producer Judd Apatow, often stealing the spotlight in hit films such as "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (2004); "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (2005); "Knocked Up" (2007); "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (2007), in which he had a brief role as The Beatles' John Lennon; and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008).
With the success of those films – and frequent appearances on TV comedies like "Reno 911!" and "Saturday Night Live" – Rudd's profile increased, resulting in leading roles in films such as "Role Models" (2008, which he co-wrote), "I Love You, Man" (2009), "Dinner for Schmucks" (2010), "Our Idiot Brother" (2011), "Admission" (2013) and the 2012 Apatow productions "Wanderlust" and "This is Forty."
In 2014, he reunited with Will Ferrell and Steve Carell in "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" and co-starred alongside Amy Poehler in the rom-com spoof "They Came Together."
In addition to his increasing presence on the big screen, Rudd has also continued work in TV. He co-created the short-lived Starz series "Party Down" in 2009 and appeared on four 2012 episodes of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," starring his frequent co-star Poehler. Rudd will also soon return to Camp Firewood for the upcoming Netflix original series, "Wet Hot American Summer: The First Day of Camp."
In 2015, Rudd also branched out into the superhero realm, joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the title role of "Ant-Man." He'll reprise the role in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" and, possibly, future installments in the "Avengers" franchise.