Ellen Albertini Dow
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|Ellen Albertini Dow|
16 November 1913
Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Cornell University|
Ellen Albertini Dow (born 16 November 1913) is an American character actress. She often portrays feisty old ladies and is perhaps best known as the rapping grandmother in the 1998 motion picture The Wedding Singer. Other film roles include the homophobic grandmother in Wedding Crashers, Disco Dottie in 54, the recipient of Christopher Lloyd's slapstick in Radioland Murders, and a choir member in Sister Act.
Life and career
Dow was born November 16, 1913 in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, the seventh child of ethnic Italian immigrant parents from Tyrol, Austria. Her father, Oliver, was a car dealership owner, and her mother was also named Ellen. She studied dance and piano at age five. She obtained a B.A. and M.A. in theatre from Cornell University, where she became a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. She then moved to New York, where she studied and worked with legendary dancers Hanya Holm and Martha Graham.
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 also founded the Albertini Mime Players and was its producer for 19 years.
Dow's television work includes appearances in such television series as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Will & Grace, Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, Just Shoot Me, Hannah Montana, Scrubs, Sister, Sister  and According to Jim.