Ellen Albertini Dow

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Ellen Albertini Dow
Born Ellen Rose Albertini
(1913-11-16) November 16, 1913 (age 100)
Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Cornell University (class of 1935)
Occupation Actress, acting coach
Years active 1985 (film/TV) –present
Spouse(s) Eugene Dow, Jr. (deceased)
Signature EllenADow.png
Official website

Ellen Albertini Dow (November 16, 1913)[1][2] is an American character actress. She portrays feisty old ladies and may be best known as the rapping grandmother in The Wedding Singer (1998). Other film roles include the elderly lady who "outs" her grandson in Wedding Crashers, Disco Dottie in 54, the recipient of Christopher Lloyd's character's slapstick in Radioland Murders, and a choir member in Sister Act.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Ellen Rose Albertini was born in 1913 (but would later shave five years off her age), the seventh and youngest child of ethnic Italian immigrant parents, Ellen and Oliver, from Tyrol, Austria. Oliver was a car dealership owner.[4] She studied dance and piano at age five and would later move to New York, where she studied and worked with legendary dancers Hanya Holm and Martha Graham.[citation needed]

Dow studied acting with Michael Shurtleff and Uta Hagen, and worked with mimes Marcel Marceau and Jacques Lecoq in Paris. She performed comedy in the Borscht Belt and at the Second Avenue Theatre in New York with Menasha Skulnik and Molly Picon. She performed in summer stock companies in Massachusetts, Long Island, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, and directed and choreographed stage productions such as The Beggar's Opera at Carnegie Recital Hall, The Magic Flute, and Julius Caesar with German musical director Hugo Strelitzer. She founded the Albertini Mime Players and was its producer for 19 years.[citation needed]

Her television work includes appearances in such television series as Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Golden Girls, Just Shoot Me, Will & Grace, Seinfeld, Hannah Montana, Scrubs, Sister, Sister,[3] According to Jim, Six Feet Under, and My Name is Earl.[3]


She earned a B.A. and M.A. in theatre from Cornell University, where she became a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, graduating in 1935.[5]


  1. ^ Born 1913, not 1918, as per 1920 and 1930 United States Federal Census & Voter Lists, which show she was six years old in April 1920, and sixteen years old in April 1930, when the above-referenced censuses were enumerated.
    Name: Ellen Albertini
    Census & Voter Lists
    Birth: abt 1914
    Pennsylvania Residence: 1930 - Mount Carmel, Northumberland, Pennsylvania
  2. ^ 1920 United States Federal Census
    Census & Voter Lists
    Name: Ellen Albertini
    Birth: abt 1914 - Pennsylvania
    Residence: 1920 - Mount Carmel Ward 3, Northumberland, Pennsylvania.
  3. ^ a b c Ellen Albertini Dow at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Ellen Albertini Dow profile, FilmReference.com; accessed May 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Ellen Rose Albertini, Cornell University alumna (class of 1935), e-yearbook.com; accessed June 23, 2014.