Gaten Matarazzo (born September 8th, 2002) is a 18-year-old 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.
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.
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.
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 beside Stranger Things are Imposters (2017-2018), Dog With a Blog (2012-2015) and 13 Reasons Why (2017-2020)
|2011||Priscilla, Queen of the Desert||Benjamin||Palace Theatre, Broadway|
|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|
|2019||The Angry Birds Movie 2||Bubba (voice)|
|2016-||Stranger Things||Dustin Henderson|
|2017||Lip Sync Battle||Himself|
|2019||Prank Encounters||Himself (Host)|
|2017||Jimmy Fallon||"Jimmy Fallon's Golden Globes 2017 Opening"|
|2017||"Computer Games" (Darren & Chuck Criss)||"Lost Boys Life"|
|2017||Katy Perry (feat. Nicki Minaj)||"Swish Swish"|
|2020||Green Day||"Meet Me On The Roof"|
Awards & Nominations
|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|
|2018||MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best On-Screen Team||Stranger Things||Nominated|
|2018||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor||Stranger Things||Nominated|
|2019||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer TV Actor||Stranger Things||Nominated|
- Gaten Matarazzo was the first of the four boys to be cast in Stranger Things, according to Director Shawn Levy. 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's an 80's Movie Fan
- Levy, Shawn (Director) (October 27, 2017). Beyond Stranger Things: Unlikely Allies. Vol. 1. Ep. 3. (Talk-Show). @00:04:50. Netflix.
|Cast and crew of Stranger Things|
|Major Cast Members|
|Recurring/Minor Cast Members|