Paul Rudd is one of Hollywood’s rarities. Where some actors struggle to maintain relevance as they enter the later stages of their careers, Rudd has been on a winning streak for almost 25 years. Perhaps his secret to success is his likability. He’s the friendly guy next door who can transition seamlessly from goofball to heartthrob.
At 48 years old, the industry veteran has displayed a versatility that has taken him from cult comedies to comic book action movies. All along the way, he’s aged with grace and has avoided the typical pitfalls of a successful Hollywood career. When it comes to acting longevity, he has the career to beat.
Starting in Hollywood
Rudd first got his start as a featured player on the hit drama Sisters in 1992. He spent three years honing his craft alongside storied actresses Sela Ward and Swoosie Kurtz. From there, he made the jump into feature films with his iconic turn as Josh opposite Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. It was then, back in 1995 at the start of his career, that he’d already solidified his place in pop culture. Rudd also appeared in seventeen episodes of Friends as Phoebe’s third husband, Mike Hannigan.
However, he went on to land a series of memorable roles in hit films that would span the next two decades and define popular culture. Among the most impactful of those movies were Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Wanderlust and the late-life coming-of-age comedy This Is 40. He seemed to find the sweet spot of his career delivering an understated brand of comedy. But he didn’t let Hollywood pigeonhole him as a lovable nice guy.
Box Office Success
He showcased his dramatic skill in teen drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Then, he proved that he could win the box office as an action star in the comic book adaptation Ant-Man. The unassuming and unconventional superhero was a perfect fit for Rudd. It gave him the opportunity to flex his action muscles (and actual muscles) while still using his guy-next-door appeal to pull viewers into theaters. It was a hit with critics and went on to gross more than $138 million domestically.
Great Age & Style
After nearly two decades as a comedy film fixture, he showed a new generation of fans that he was an action star, too. Rudd’s career isn’t the only impressive aspect of his life. The married father of two has never been a tabloid fixture, allowing fans to enjoy his art without the distraction of real-life drama. He’s never photographed having dinner at L.A. hotspots, but when he turns up on red carpets, he finds the balance between his everyday guy sensibility and black tie dress codes. His suits are well-fitted, his colors are neutral, and his accessories are minimal. He’s a well-dressed guy that doesn’t need to suit up like a peacock to make the best-dressed list.
Not to mention, though he’s 48, he’s still a dead ringer for his younger self in Clueless. Maybe it’s his laid-back lifestyle that’s allowed him to age so nicely and hold onto Hollywood’s most valued property–youth. Up next, Rudd will make a return to the big screen as Ant-Man in Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is scheduled to hit theaters July 2018. It seems this latest phase of his career is just getting underway.