Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: City of Edmonton News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: City Of Edmonton News.
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Heather Matarazzo

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Famous For:
Welcome to the Dollhouse, The Princess Diaries, The Devil's Advocate
Networth:
$750,000
Currently Known For:
Actress
Famous Years:
1990s - Present
Birthdate:
November 10, 1982
Heather Matarazzo


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  Famous For:
Welcome to the Dollhouse, The Princess Diaries, The Devil's Advocate

  Networth:
$750,000

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“People will grow and change and that’s part of life.” Heather Matarazzo is one of the few women in Hollywood to fight against typecasting after spending nearly a decade playing the dorky sidekick. First gaining notoriety for her performance in Welcome to the Dollhouse in 1997, Matarazzo starred in the short-lived television series Now and Again (1999-2000) before she joined Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries (2000) and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). Since then, she’s made sporadic appearances in television on popular series like Roseanne and Greys Anatomy but has struggled to break free of being typecast to find meaningful work in Hollywood. What’s the trouble? Let’s find out! Advertisements:

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Early Life and Career Beginnings

Heather Christina Marie Matarazzo came into this world on November 10, 1982, in Oyster Bay, New York. After spending years in foster care, she was adopted by Ray Matarazzo, a data processing manager for a bakery chain, and his wife, Camille. This early experience left Matarazzo with severe post traumatic stress disorder and ongoing depression that heightened years later when she lost her birth father, Pat Corley from Knock, Ireland, and her adoptive father in the same year. More on that in a moment!

Years before tragedy struck, Matarazzo’s adoptive parents encouraged her to pursue her interests in performing. During an AIDS benefit for children in New York, the six-year-old Matarazzo grabbed the microphone and stole the show. She caught the attention of a talent manager in the audience and, with her parent’s permission, signed on with the agent. By the early 1990s, Matarazzo landed a handful of recurring roles in The Adventures of Pete and Pete (1993), Townies (1996), and Roseanne (1997) in addition to making a brief appearance on the popular medical drama, ER (1997).

In 1997, she starred as Dawn Wiener in Welcome to the Dollhouse and earned an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance as well as a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Younger Actress in a Feature Film and a Satellite Award nomination for Best Actress. The film gave Matarazzo the boost she needed to pursue her interests in film as she landed minor roles in Hurricane Streets (1997), The Deli (197), The Devil’s Advocate (1997), 54 (1998), and The Hairy Bird (1998). In the new millennium, she appeared in Scream 3 (2000) and starred as Heather Wiseman in 22 episodes of the short-lived television series Now and Again. The series earned Matarazzo a Saturn Award nomination and a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Matarazzo caught a huge break in 2001 when she was cast opposite Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries. Playing the dorky best friend to a princess, Matarazzo gave an outstanding performance and reprised her role three years later in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). By then, however, she was typecast as the nerdy sidekick, a fact that didn’t sit well with the young actress. “I had difficulties dealing with my own insecurities and identity when I was in my late teens,” Matarazzo said. “It was strange because I never thought about the characters that I played when I was younger. But it wasn’t until I became an adolescent that I started hearing words such as ‘ugly’ or ‘plain.’ I started to get a firm grasp on how other people saw me, and I took other people’s views of me as absolute truths.”

Refusing to Settle: Standing Her Ground in Hollywood

After The Princess Diaries 2, Matarazzo landed a recurring role in Exes and Ohs (2006-2009) and made sporadic appearances on The L Word (2007), Law & Order (2008), and Life on Mars (2008). However, she struggled to find bigger parts, which forced her out of the spotlight especially after the loss of her biological father and her adoptive father in the same year.

“I don’t know if I took a step back from Hollywood or Hollywood took a step back from me. I was like, what kind of sick and twisted universe is this? The fact that I’m still here is a miracle in itself,” she said. Matarazzo fell into a deep depression and hit an all-time low in 2009 when she considered suicide after losing both her fathers and enduring months of unsuccessful auditions. “It wasn’t even a dramatic thing. And that’s the thing about suicidal thoughts. It’s like, ‘Maybe I should put gas in the car.’ It’s very matter-of-fact.”

Matarazzo took her therapist’s recommendation and traveled to Costa Rica to experiment with the popular spiritual hallucinogenic ayahuasca, which the actress claims saved her life. “I had come to the point where I was like, ‘If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what I am going to do,’” she said of trying the plant-based drug. “It’s not about going and getting high, though. You literally are puking and sh-tting in a bucket. You go to hell and back. I was terrified.”

The hallucinogenic worked to manage Matarazzo’s depression, which is why the 36-year-old recognizes the second chance she has in life and refuses to be typecast or give up on her career. “A lot of people resist women who know their worth because they’re not playing the role they’ve been assigned to, which is to say yes and say thank you,” she says. Instead, Matarazzo fights for her worth even if that means she struggles financially. “Most people think that I probably get paid a lot of money,” she says. “But I really don’t, and most working actors don’t. I drive a beat-up Prius and I just bought my first pair of new shoes in over two years. There is this untouchable and made-up image of actors, where they live this extravagant, beautiful life. But in reality, it’s just not the experience.”

Today, Matarazzo continues to audition but most of her time is spent on independent flicks and creative projects. “An independent project runs for two to three weeks—at most and we get paid $125 for the day, that’s after working for 16-18 hours,” she says. “And I’m thinking, all I want to be able to do is pay rent, create and bring about stories to the world that need to be told. It’s not about the awards for me. It’s about a single tweet or the email or a letter that says, ‘That movie changed my life.’”

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