What Is Gaten Matarazzo Best Known For and Is He Related To Heather Matarazzo?

Gaten Matarazzo is an American actor who began acting professionally at the age of 12. He kicked off his acting career on Broadway, portraying Benjamin in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Most recently, he gained a lot of attention for being Dustin Henderson in the science-fiction series Stranger Things. His personality is not without some controversies, thanks to the existence of another Hollywood actor, Heather Matarazzo, who bears the same surname as his.

Gaten John Matarazzo III was born on the 8th of September 2002 in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey. He is one of three children born to Gaten Matarazzo Sr. and Heather Matarazzo. His siblings named Sabrina and Carmen Matarazzo have featured in television commercials.

How He Rose to Fame

The young actor launched his acting career as a 12-year-old boy, appearing as Benjamin in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in 2014 and playing the role of Gavroche/Petit Gervais in Les Misérables at the Imperial Theatre. He appeared for the first time on TV in 2015, portraying Finn in an episode of The Blacklist. In 2016, the actor landed his breakthrough role as Dustin Henderson in Stranger Things. That was not the role he auditioned for, even though it’s like he was born for the sole purpose of playing the character.

Gaten was among the nearly one thousand actors of his age who tried for the role of Mike Wheeler. Playing Dustin paved the way for him to land more opportunities in the entertainment industry. In 2017, he appeared in an episode of Ridiculousness and also in the musical reality contest TV-series, Lip Sync Battle. In this same year, he made three notable appearances in music videos like Swish Swish by Katy Perry featuring Nicki Minaj, Lost Boys Life by Darren & Chuck Criss, and Jimmy Fallon’s Golden Globes 2017 Opening.

The following year, he appeared as Jean-Michael in Cinderella, a play that was staged at the Pinelands Regional Thespians. Thereafter, he voiced the character of Bubba in the 2019 film The Angry Birds Movie 2 and also began hosting the comedy web television series Prank Encounters in October of the same year.

Awards and Upcoming Projects

The talented actor is set to play a starring role as the voice of Rami in Hump, an upcoming movie about a camel who embarks on a journey across the Arabian desert in search of its best friend.

So far, Gaten Matarazzo has received six award nominations, out of which he has won two: the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series and the Shorty Awards as the Best Actor in Stranger Things.

Other Things That Made The Actor Popular

Although he is most popular as a result of his acting career, Gaten Matarazzo is also known as a philanthropist. The actor was born with a rare genetic disorder known as cleidocranial dysplasia, which causes delayed development of bones in the skull, face, and teeth. However, his is a milder form of the condition as it has been classified as non-genetic. As a student, he was bullied by older learners who didn’t understand why his shoulders looked the way they did. Nevertheless, Gaten now takes advantage of his fame to raise awareness about the condition.

Today, the young celebrity raises awareness and does fundraising for CCD Smiles, an organization that subsidizes the cost of oral surgeries for cleidocranial dysostosis patients. His sister recently started a Facebook campaign geared towards raising funds for this organization while the actor’s line of T-shirts has its proceeds going directly to the coffers of CCD Smiles. On his social media pages, he keeps his fans updated on the different events he will be attending and as well encourages them to donate to CCD Smiles.

Gaten Matarazzo is also a singer. He is the lead vocalist of a six-man band known as Work In Progress, which came aboard the music scene towards the end of 2017. Ever since the group from Little Egg Habor was born, it has been making a significant impression with refreshing and energizing performances.

Is Heather Matarazzo Gaten’s Relative?

gaten matarazzo
Gaten Matarazzo and Heather Matarazzo

Gaten Matarazzo’s fame has come with an interesting twist to it, he shares the same last name with Heather Matarazzo, the actress who appeared as Lillyc in Princess Diaries. It becomes all the more interesting when his mother bears the same name as the said actress. This explains why a lot of people are eager to know if the actor is in any way related to the actress.

From what we gathered, Heather tweeted about this in 2016, categorically stating that she is not in any way related to Gaten Matarazzo. While she is of Irish descent and grew up in a Catholic Italian-American family, Gaten is of Italian and English descent.

True, the name of Gaten Matarazzo’s mum is Heather Matarazzo, the same name as the Princess Diary actress. But then, this is simply a case of two different people answering the same name. While we have a certain Heather Matarazzo as an actress, we have another Heather Matarazzo as the mother of an actor.

The Princess Diary actress goes by the full name Heather Christina Marie Matarazzo and was born on the 10th of November 1982 in Oyster Bay, New York. She was given up for adoption as a child and her adoptive parents are Camile and Ray Matarazzo.

The Net Worth of Gaten Matarazzo

A lot of people spend years playing very small roles before they eventually have their big break while a few others hit it big almost as soon as they step into Hollywood; Gaten belongs to the latter category. He started acting on-screen in 2015, appearing briefly in just one television series and by the following year, he was cast in a major role alongside other kids in Stranger Things. The series turned out to be a very popular television show, making it possible for its cast to earn a massive salary.

There is no gainsaying that Gaten Matarazzo made a large portion of his wealth from Stranger Things. While he was paid about $20,000 for each episode of the show’s second season, he was paid even more for the third season. According to various reports, Gaten and three other cast members were paid $250,000 for each episode of season three which is made up of eight episodes. This means that the young actor earned a whopping $2,000,000 for the said season.

Gaten Matarazzo
Maya Hawke, Joe Keery, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things: Image Source

Apart from Stranger Things, Gaten has been in a few other series and films but information about how much he earned from them is not available. What he was paid to appear in the music videos he has featured in is also not known. Nevertheless, aside from his on-screen activities, the bundle of talents has another major source of income: he has sponsorship deals with companies such as Verizon Fios and Old Navy.

Judging by the $4 million estimated net worth of the young man, it is obvious that his hard work is paying off and with the fourth season of Stranger Things on the way, he is sure to receive another heavy pay, more endorsement deals, and much more money.

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness, if you've found a possible error, be it factual, editorial or something that needs updating, please contact us
Chidiebube Nzeme
Chidiebube Nzeme
Chidiebube has been writing and editing articles on movies, entertainment and other juicy things for several years. When he is not writing, he spends time outdoors, lost in the beauty of nature or simply travelling around the world. Thank goodness he can do the later with any internet-enabled device


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