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Gaetano John "Gaten" Matarazzo III (born September 8, 2002) is an Italian-American actor and singer, best known for his portrayal of main character Dustin Henderson in the Netflix original sci-fi series, Stranger Things.

He has a medical condition that delays the development and growth of his teeth called cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD). He shares this trait with his character Dustin Henderson. He uses his reputation to raise awareness of CCD and to help fundraise for the nonprofit organization CCD Smiles.

Career[]

Gaten Matarazzo has only acted in theater and television, without taking any film roles since his career debut in the year of 2011. In 2011, he was cast an alternate for the Broadway production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical. However, playing Dustin Henderson in the critically acclaimed Stranger Things led him to gain much popularity.

Personal life[]

Matarazzo was born with cleidocranial dysostosis, which he has spoken openly about, even documenting one of his surgeries, during which 14 supernumary teeth were removed, on Instagram. After he was cast in Stranger Things as Dustin Henderson, the character's background was modified to have the condition as well. He uses dentures.

He uses his platform to raise awareness of CCD and fundraise for CCD Smiles, an organization that helps cover costs of oral surgeries for people with CCD. Matarazzo has also started a line of T-shirts whose proceeds will go to CCD Smiles. On his social media sites, Matarazzo tells followers how to donate to CCD Smiles and promotes events he will participate in. In November 2017, his sister started a Facebook campaign to raise money for the organization.

As a child, Gaten was heavily involved in performing arts, specifically singing. He pursued vocal training at Starlight Performing Arts Center in New Jersey. In 2011, he competed and won third place with his vocal solo entitled “Ben” at Starpower Talent Competition Nationals in Uncasville, Connecticut.

He graduated from Pinelands Regional High School in Tuckerton, New Jersey in 2020.

Influences[]

His acting influences and favorite actors are Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Darren Criss.

He cites Eminem, Paramore, Kelly Clarkson, Pearl Jam and Green Day as his music influences.

His favorite movies are The Goonies (1985), Harry Potter movies, Star Wars movies and Deadpool (2016).

His favorite TV shows besides Stranger Things are Imposters (2017-2018), Dog With a Blog (2012-2015) and 13 Reasons Why (2017-2020).

Filmography[]

Stage[]

Year Title Role Location
2011 Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Benjamin Palace Theatre, Broadway
2012 Godspell Jesus Circle in the Square Theatre
Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes Ban US tour
2014 Les Misérables Gavroche / Petit Gervais Imperial Theatre, Broadway
2018 Cinderella Jean-Michael Pinelands Regional Thespians
2019 Into the Woods Jack Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
2022 Dear Evan Hansen Jared Kleinman Music Box Theatre, Broadway
Parade Frankie Epps New York City Center
2023 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Tobias Ragg Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, Broadway
Gutenberg! The Musical! Producer RJames Earl Jones Theatre, Broadway (one night only)

Film[]

Year Title Role
2019 The Angry Birds Movie 2 Bubba (voice) 
2022 Honor Society Michael Dipnicky
My Father's Dragon Boris the Dragon (voice)
2023 Please Don't Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain Himself
TBA Hump Rami (voice)

Television[]

Year  Title Role
2015 The Blacklist Finn
2016- Stranger Things Dustin Henderson
2017 Ridiculousness Himself
Lip Sync Battle
2018 Drop the Mic
2019-2021 Prank Encounters Himself - Host
2021 Nickelodeon's Unfiltered Himself
Waffles + Mochi Casey the Electrician

Music Videos[]

Year Artist Title
2017 Jimmy Fallon "Jimmy Fallon's Golden Globes 2017 Opening"
"Computer Games" (Darren & Chuck Criss) "Lost Boys Life"
Katy Perry (feat. Nicki Minaj) "Swish Swish"
2020 Green Day "Meet Me On The Roof"

Awards & Nominations[]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Stranger Things Won
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Digital TV Series or Film – Young Actor Nominated
Shortly Awards Best Actor Won
2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best On-Screen Team Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor Nominated
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer TV Actor Nominated
2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2022 Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Streaming) Nominated
2023 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Star (Family) Nominated

External Links[]

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • Gaten Matarazzo was the first of the four boys to be cast in Stranger Things, according to Director Shawn Levy.[1] He initially auditioned for the role of Mike Wheeler
  • He had been rejected for acting jobs for two years because of his medical condition.
  • He first met his co-star Caleb McLaughlin at a playground when both were on Broadway. 
  • He's a Vegetarian. 
  • He is left-handed. 
  • His mother is named Heather, but she is not actress Heather Matarazzo. 
  • He is of Italian descent. 
  • He was born in Connecticut but raised in Little Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.
  • He was an extra in Katy Perry's "Swish Swish" music video.

References[]

  1. Levy, Shawn (Director) (October 27, 2017). Beyond Stranger Things: Unlikely Allies. Vol. 1. Ep. 3. (Talk-Show). @00:04:50. Netflix.
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