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A Smart Kid Hits The Big Time

Have you ever heard of Shia LaBeouf? Here was our office discussion this morning – how exactly to pronounce his last name. (For the record, LaBeouf rhymes with poof.) By the end of the day, I had everybody saying it correctly!

It's a name to know and remember because this 21-year-old is one of the hottest names in Hollywood and one of my favorite young stars. You might remember him from "Even Stevens," which my kids watched on the Disney Channel. And he really exploded onto the scene with the surprisingly successful film "Disturbia." Now he's starring in the summer blockbuster "Transformers," and was tapped for a big role in the new Indiana Jones movie.

But what I like about Shia is that he's got a great head on his shoulders. He's very mature for his age, having gone to work as an actor when he was just a young kid in order to support his family. His dad was in and out of drug rehab, and his mom was selling beads on the street for a living. He looked up an agent in the phone book and eventually won the "Even Stevens" role.

Shia told me he's immensely grateful for everything he has and he's determined not to mess it up. You won't find him in nightclubs or with the hard-partying Hollywood social set. Instead, he recently celebrated his 21st birthday with a few buddies, going retro with scotch and cigars at a small club. In fact, if you check out the attire he donned for our interview, it appears he's taken the retro thing pretty seriously!

He's determined to play it smart in terms of his career and his personal life, and it's working wonders so far. He even has Steven Spielberg calling him the next Tom Hanks!