Born Martin Schienle, Martin Starr (his stage name) began life in Southern California and grew up as the son of an elementary school guidance counselor father and a mother employed as the head of In the Act Productions, a company built around producing networking workshops for aspiring actors. With that familial background, Starr came to show business naturally and began doing commercials from the age of six. The upstart moved to southwest Florida during high school with his dad and stepmom, but remained connected to show business thanks to his mom. He scored his first major career coup in his late teens at the hands of executive producer Judd Apatow, whose short-lived but critically acclaimed seriocomedy Freaks and Geeks reeled in a devoted cult following when it turned up on NBC in the fall of 1999; Starr played Bill Haverchuck, a distinctly geeky but not-so-bright social misfit attending a Michigan high school in 1980.
Subsequent years witnessed Starr moving into features and maintaining a multi-film series of collaborations with Apatow and company, including the sex comedies Knocked Up and Superbad (both 2007), and the bitter, acerbic romantic comedy Good Dick (2007) opposite Marianna Palka, Jason Ritter, and Tom Arnold. Since then, he starred alongside Jesse Eisenberg in the 2009 Sundance festival hit Adventureland, and will be returning to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival alongside fellow cult tv comedy star Lizzy Caplan (Party Down), in the film Save the Date.