Gaten Matarazzo – 21 Facts about Dustin from Stranger Things

gaten matarazzo facts

Gaten John Matarazzo plays the unforgettable Dustin in our favorite show Stranger Things. Although it was his breakthrough TV performance and most people know him from the now cult 80’s inspired series, most people ignore the fact that Gaten is also a talented comedian and singer, and that he already has quite the CV!

Want to know more about the adorable new kid on the block? Here are 21 Gaten Matarazzo facts that you probably didn’t know until now…

1. Gaten Grew up in New Jersey

Gaten was born on the 8th of September 2002 and grew up in New Jersey, in a small town called Little Egg Harbor. That makes him 16 as of 2019.

gaten matarazzo young
Press of Atlantic City

2. He has a Couple of Siblings

The Stranger Things star’s parents are named Heather Matarazzo and Gaten Matarazzo Sr. and he has two siblings, Sabrina and Carmen who have acted in television commercials. It looks like the entire family were born to be stars!

gaten matarazzo siblings

3. Gaten Got Famous by Accident

How did Gaten get famous? The mini-superstar started his career when accompanying his sister to an interview. The manager asked Gaten if he wanted to act as well and for our happiness, little Gaten went for it!

dustin stranger things

4. He’s a Broadway Star

If you thought Dustin captured your heart, wait until you see an even younger version of him performing on stage! Did you know that Gaten has actually played iconic roles on the Broadway Stage? At only 10 years-old, he appeared in none other than the musicals, Les Misérables and Priscilla in which he respectively played Gavroche and Benjamin.

gaten matarazzo Les Misérables

5. Gaten’s Always Been a Hard Worker

When he was an actor on Broadway, Gaten had to juggle between performing six days a week plus matinees, and attending school. That’s certainly more than the average adult can say. Perseverance might as well be Gaten’s middle name!


6. He Met Caleb on Broadway

When the stars align! Gaten’s time on the Broadway stage led to him meeting his Stranger Things co-star, Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair) who was playing Simba in a production of The Lion King at the time.

Caleb McLaughlin Gaten Matarazzo

7. Gaten Starred in The Blacklist

Stranger Things may have been Gaten’s big break but before that, he starred in yet another successful television series. In 2015, when Gaten was 13 years-old, he was credited in an episode of the mystery TV show, The Blacklist as “Finn”.

Gaten Matarazzo the blacklist
Davis Entertainment

8. He is a Star Wars Fan

Seeing as he stars in one of the world’s greatest sci-fi series, it’s no surprise that Gaten is a huge sci-fi fan. Among his passions is obviously Star Wars, and he has said himself that he would love to play a role in the franchise. We could totally see him as a future Luke Skywalker one day. May the Force be With You, Gaten!

Gaten Matarazzo star wars

9. Gaten’s Voice Broke During Stranger Things

Here’s an interesting behind-the-scenes fact about Stranger Things. As most boys his age who go through puberty, Gaten’s voice changed enormously while filming Stranger Things. In the end, his voice had deepened so much that the sound team couldn’t ask him to record additional dialogue once the shoot was done.

shes our friend

20+ ‘Stranger Things’ Scenes That Are Iconic

10. He has Cleidocranial Dysplasia

Cleidocranial dysplasia is a rare defect which affects the development of a person’s teeth and bones. Gaten has been completely open about suffering from this defect and the show-runners have even incorporated this trait into his Stranger Things character, too!

11. Gaten Wears Dentures in the Show

As a result of his condition, Gaten uses dentures which he happily showed to his fans on Instagram. He regularly uses his platform to raise awareness about the defect and calls for donations to be made to the CCD Smiles organization. Good on you, Gaten!

Gaten Matarazzo teeth

12. The Defect Led to Many Failures

He’s one heck of a fighter! For two years, Gaten got rejections after rejections because of his defect. Today he is one of the main characters of one of the biggest shows on TV and we couldn’t be happier that he was so resilient!

Gaten Matarazzo

13. Gaten’s Won Awards for Playing Dustin

For his role as Dustin, Gaten was awarded with the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2017. There’s no surprise why. He is indeed one of the best characters on Stranger Things, he has the funniest quotes on the show, and his talent is undeniable!

Gaten Matarazzo awards

14. He’s Worked with Katy Perry

One can only dream to work with major popstars, right? Well, not Gaten! In fact, in 2017, Gaten appeared in a Katy Perry music video for the song, Swish Swish. Did you catch a glimpse of the sweetheart in that basketball face off?

Gaten Matarazzo katy perry

15. Gaten Almost Played Mike Wheeler

That’s right! Gaten initially auditioned for the role of Mike Wheeler. When the role went to Finn Wolfhard instead, Gaten ended up getting the part of Dustin, in which we couldn’t be more happy about.

dustin mike stranger things

16. He is a Vegetarian

In case you wanted to know some detailed trivia about Gaten Matarazzo’s personal life, well, he’s a vegetarian! He’d choose veggies over chicken wings but he certainly loves a little bit of pudding like his Stranger Things character, Dustin!

dustin pudding

17. Gaten Once Preferred the Stage over Film

Gaten said himself that when he was 8 years-old, he used to prefer the theatre as it felt more challenging and more rewarding than acting behind a screen. But when he finally tried out film, he realized that both industries had their perks.

Gaten Matarazzo stage

18. He’s in a Band

Indeed! Just like his co-star Finn Wolfhard, Gaten has a band! It’s called “Work In Progress” and all members originally come from Gaten’s small town of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey. An even funner fact? The band includes both of his sisters.

Gaten Matarazzo band
Coup De Main Magazine

19. Gaten’s Net Worth is Huge

Starring in such a popular TV show, it’s no surprise that Gaten has an incredible net worth ranging in the six figures. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the actor is worth a whooping $4 million. He did however say in a Jimmy Kimmel interview that he did not care for the financial side of things and that like any other kids, he still has to ask his parents when he wants to buy something.

dustin in stranger things

20. He’s an 80’s Movie Fan

He may be a kid of the noughties, but believe it or not, The Goonies is one of Gaten’s favorite movies of all time. This comes as great news considering the fact that Stranger Things drew so much inspiration from this 80’s classic. We’re assuming his favorite character was Chunk?

the goonies
Warner Bros.

21. Gaten Sang the National Anthem

Damn right! Gaten is a true patriot. Did you know that in 2015, he sang the National Anthem along with his sister Sabrina before the Mets game? He sounded amazing, too! That’s not all. At only 7 years-old, Gaten also sang the patriotic song America the Beautiful at the 2010 US open.

He might be new to the small screen, but this talented young actor already has wisdom and achievements beyond his years. Did you already know about all of these facts about Gaten or were they all news to you? If so, which ones surprised you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and let us know about facts we might have forgotten…

Want to know more about the Stranger Things stars? Check out this post covering 12 fun Millie Bobby Brown facts!


Tale Teller

  • Maria Supplisson

    Maria is a screenwriting student at the London Film Academy with a Bachelors' degree in English & Creative Writing, blogger and storytelling-obsessed, from literature to TV shows, movies to documentaries. During her time at the London Film Academy, Maria wrote two short films that were produced by the school, one of which was showcased at the BFI for graduation, and she is now working on multiple projects from a short film to a play, while also translating articles from English to French about film, series, and celebrities for a London-based entertainment news agency. Unhealthily addicted to Game of Thrones lore.

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11 months ago

I never knew he auditioned for Mike! That blew me away!

4 years ago

I have actually watched Swish Swish video but I never noticed him at first until I read this facts. So surprising. I had to go and watch the video again