Ellen Albertini Dow

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Ellen Albertini Dow
Ellen Albertini Dow.jpg
Ellen Albertini Dow in The Wedding Singer
Born Ellen Rose Albertini
(1913-11-26)November 26, 1913
Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died May 4, 2015(2015-05-04) (aged 101)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Alma mater Cornell University (class of 1935)
Occupation Actress, acting coach
Years active 1985–2013
Spouse(s) Eugene Dow, Jr. (deceased)
Signature EllenADow.png

Ellen Rose Albertini Dow (November 26, 1913 – May 4, 2015) was an American character actress. She portrayed feisty old ladies and may be best known as the rapping grandmother in The Wedding Singer (1998). Dow's 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.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Albertini was born on November 26, 1913 in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania,[2][3] 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.[1]

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, Designing Women, Just Shoot Me, Will & Grace, Seinfeld, Ned's Declassified, Hannah Montana, Scrubs, Sister, Sister,[1] According to Jim, Six Feet Under, and My Name is Earl.[1]

She died on May 4, 2015, at the age of 101.[4]


Dow 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. ^ a b c d Ellen Albertini Dow at the Internet Movie Database
  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. ^ Pedersen, Erik (1913-11-16). "‘Wedding Singer’ Rapping Granny Dead; Ellen Albertini Dow Was 101". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-05-05. 
  5. ^ Ellen Rose Albertini, Cornell University alumna (class of 1935), e-yearbook.com; accessed June 23, 2014.

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