Ellen Albertini Dow

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Ellen Albertini Dow
Born Ellen Rose Albertini
November 16
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 Rose Albertini Dow (born November 16)[1][2][3] 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.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Albertini was born in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, the seventh and youngest child of ethnic Italian immigrant parents, Ellen and Oliver, from South Tyrol. Oliver was a car dealership owner.[3] She studied dance and piano at age five and would later move to New York, where she studied and worked with dancers Hanya Holm and Martha Graham.[4]

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 on Long Island, New York, Massachusetts, 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,[4] According to Jim, Six Feet Under, and My Name is Earl.[4]


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. ^ Various sources give Albertini Dow's year of birth at either 1913 or 1918.
  2. ^ Reference to Ellen Albertini Dow's 100th birthday, businessinsider.com; accessed November 17, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Ellen Albertini Dow profile, FilmReference.com; accessed May 26, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Ellen Albertini Dow at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ Ellen Rose Albertini, Cornell University alumna (class of 1935), e-yearbook.com; accessed June 23, 2014.