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Heather Matarazzo

Heather Matarazzo

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Also Known As: Heather Amy Matarazzo Died:
Born: November 10, 1982 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Oyster Bay, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

In 1996, Heather Matarazzo delivered one of the year's most striking film performances as the plain, bespectacled junior high student Dawn Weiner in "Welcome to the Dollhouse." Only eleven years old when the film was shot, the Long Island native offered a compelling and touching performance of a misunderstood middle child, battered by the taunts of classmates (who call her 'Weinerdog') and the particular attentions of one boy (Brendon Sexton III) who demonstrates his affection with threats of rape. Despite subject matter that was at times painful to watch, the young actress never flagged, holding the audience's sympathies even while displaying sibling rivalry. Like indie stalwart Lili Taylor, Matarazzo was willing to downplay her own unusual looks for the sake of the character.The precocious youngster began her acting career at the tender of seven and later played an abused child in an NYU student film, Helen Keller in a stage production of "The Miracle Worker" and a recurring role on the Nickelodeon series "The Adventures of Pete and Pete." Following her acclaimed debut, Matarazzo accepted a recurring role on the short-lived ABC sitcom "Townies" (1996) as Jenna Elfman's younger sister and took...

In 1996, Heather Matarazzo delivered one of the year's most striking film performances as the plain, bespectacled junior high student Dawn Weiner in "Welcome to the Dollhouse." Only eleven years old when the film was shot, the Long Island native offered a compelling and touching performance of a misunderstood middle child, battered by the taunts of classmates (who call her 'Weinerdog') and the particular attentions of one boy (Brendon Sexton III) who demonstrates his affection with threats of rape. Despite subject matter that was at times painful to watch, the young actress never flagged, holding the audience's sympathies even while displaying sibling rivalry. Like indie stalwart Lili Taylor, Matarazzo was willing to downplay her own unusual looks for the sake of the character.

The precocious youngster began her acting career at the tender of seven and later played an abused child in an NYU student film, Helen Keller in a stage production of "The Miracle Worker" and a recurring role on the Nickelodeon series "The Adventures of Pete and Pete." Following her acclaimed debut, Matarazzo accepted a recurring role on the short-lived ABC sitcom "Townies" (1996) as Jenna Elfman's younger sister and took supporting roles in two flicks that starred "Dollhouse"'s Brendan Sexton, "Arresting Gena" (1997) and "Hurricane Streets" (1998). She offered a strong turn as a witness testifying in a murder trial in scenes with Keanu Reeves in "The Devil's Advocate" (1997) and registered in the brief role as the younger sister of the ambitious Shane O'Shea (Ryan Phillippe) in "54" (1998). Matarazzo was also among the ensemble of the female-driven "Strike!/The Hairy Bird" (1998), a coming-of-age tale set at an all-girls school in the early 1960s. Her performance as a bulimic won her praise, but the film itself was the subject of some controversy: its producers were unhappy with Miramax's decision to open it only in Seattle and sought other distribution. Those problems, however, had little effect on the young actress' career as she lent her quirky, unselfconscious charms to "Cherry" and "Getting to Know You" (both 1999), adapted from the short stories of Joyce Carol Oates.

After a brief stint on television as Eric Close's daughter on the short-lived but critically admired drama "Now and Again" (1999), Matarazzo enjoyed supporting roles in "Blue Moon" (2000), "Scream 3" (2000) and "Company Man" (2000) before landing another high-profile role as Anne Hathaway's Plain Jane buddy Lilly in the popular Cinderella story "The Princess Diaries" (2001), a role she reprised for the 2004 sequel. After a small but well-acted role in the dim-witted comedy "Sorority Boys" (2002) as one of the ugly duckling sisters in a sorority where college cads are disguised as women, Matarazzo again took on a merry nerd role in the religious satire "Saved!" (2004) as a desperately sociall-climbing Christian school student.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Nest, The (2015)
2.
 Mangus! (2011)
3.
 Hostel: Part II (2007)
5.
 Believe In Me (2006)
6.
7.
 Saved! (2004) Tia
8.
 Sorority Boys (2002) Katie
9.
 Princess Diaries, The (2001) Lilly Moscovitz
10.
 Company Man (2001) Nora
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1989:
Began acting at age seven
:
Played an abused child in a NYU student film
1993:
Appeared in episodes of the Nickelodeon series "The Adventures of Pete and Pete"
1996:
Made film debut as the unattractive and unpopular, Dawn Weiner in the Todd Solondz film "Welcome to the Dollhouse"; first film with Brendan Sexton III
1996:
Had a recurring role on the ABC sitcom "Townies"
1997:
Played the recurring role of DJ's girlfriend in ABC's "Roseanne"
1997:
Featured in the indie films "Arresting Gena" and "Hurricane Streets"; both films starred Brendan Sexton III
1997:
Played a witness being cross-examined by Keanu Reeves in "The Devil's Advocate"
1998:
Portrayed the younger sister of Ryan Phillippe's character in the feature film "54"
1999:
Cast in a regular role on the CBS series "Now and Again"
2001:
Re-teamed with director Todd Solondz for "Storytelling"
2001:
Cast as best friend, Lilly Moscovitz in the feature "The Princess Diaries"
2004:
Co-starred with Jena Malone and Mandy Moore in the religious satire "Saved"
2004:
Reprised the role of Lilly in "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement"
2006:
Guest-starred on Showtime's lesbian themed drama, "The L Word" as a reporter interviewing Jenny Schecter
2007:
Cast in Eli Roth's "Hostel: Part II," the sequel to the 2006 film about a torture ring in Europe
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Oyster Bay High School: Oyster Bay , New York -
BOCES Cultural Arts Center: Syosset , New York -
BOCES Cultural Arts Center: Syosset , New York -
School of Visual Arts: Manhattan , New York - 2000

Notes

"I felt for the character because sometimes people would pick on me and I would just go home and cry and my parents wouldn't even know. But I think everyone goes through those times when everybody hates them. If they deny it, they're a liar."---Matarazzo on playing Dawn Weiner in "Welcome to the Dollhouse" quoted in The New York Times Magazine May 26, 1996

Heather is the lead singer of her band "Crash Course." She started the band her freshman year of high school with a group of friends.

"She has such a unique look, and her instincts are flawless. I feel I could write anything for her and she'd nail it."---Glenn Gordon Caron, the creator of the CBS show "Now and Again", who cast Matarazzo without an audition to Entertainment Weekly October 29, 1999

"I'm an actor. I don't like labels. If people want to call me a character actor, that's fine, because I know I do play some outlandish characters, but I just consider myself an actor of no specific type. I consider myself a bit of a chameleon."---Matarazzo to Daphne Gordon heathermatarazzo.org December 23, 2001

"My mom and I are very close and I am very picky and selective with the friends that I have. I am not a big partier and I hate going to L.A. to those dumb parties where everyone is getting high and drunk. I'd rather kick back with a couple of friends and watch a game on the tube. The people around me are very nurturing, very supportive and very sensitive but they are also very honest and blunt and truthful which I think is the most important thing about keeping your head on straight. Being spoiled and a brat, especially in this industry, doesn't get you anywhere. I hate it when I see people like that. There's no point."---Matarazzo on what keeps her grounded to Tribute's Bonnie Laufer 2002

Family close complete family listing

father:
Ray Matarazzo. Data processing manager.
mother:
Camille Matarazzo. Homemaker.

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