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
(1913-11-16)November 16, 1913
Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died May 4, 2015(2015-05-04) (aged 101)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Pneumonia
Alma mater Cornell University (class of 1935)
Occupation Actress, acting coach
Years active 1985–2013
Spouse(s) Eugene Dow, Jr. (deceased)
Website www.ellenalbertinidow.com

Ellen Rose Albertini Dow (November 16, 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]

Early life[edit]

Albertini was born on November 26, 1913 in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania,[2][3] the seventh and youngest child of 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]

Secondary education[edit]

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.[4] Dow studied acting with Michael Shurtleff and Uta Hagen, and worked with mimes Marcel Marceau and Jacques Lecoq in Paris.[5]


Dow 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]

Personal life[edit]

Dow married Eugene Dow, Jr. on June 27, 1951.[6] Ellen described herself as an avid hat collector.[5] Eugene died on October 11, 2004.[7]


She died on May 4, 2015, at the age of 101 due to pneumonia.[8]


n.b. for credit listings reference[5]


Year Title Role Notes ref
1992 Sister Act Choir Nun American comedy film [9]
1998 54 Disco Dottie American drama film written and directed by Mark Christopher [10]
The Wedding Singer Rapping grandmother Rosie American romantic comedy film written by Tim Herlihy and directed by Frank Coraci. [11]
2005 Wedding Crashers Mary Cleary American comedy film directed by David Dobkin. [12]


Year Title Role Notes ref
1986 The Twilight Zone Mrs. Hotchkiss Episode: "Need to Know" (S 1:Ep 51)
Mr. Belvedere Old Lady Episode: "Grandma" (S 3:Ep 2)
The Twilight Zone Old Woman Episode: "The Storyteller" (S 2:Ep 5)
1987 Beauty and the Beast Anna Lausch Episode: "Nor Iron Bars a Cage" (S 1:Ep 7)
1988 Moonlighting Mrs. Baer Episode: "Los Dos DiPestos" (S 4:Ep 8)
Mr. Belvedere Old Lady Episode: "The Trip, part 1" (S 4:Ep 13)
Webster Mrs. Crane Episode: "Papa's Big Romance" (S 6:Ep 4)
The Golden Girls Mrs. Leonard Episode: "The Days and Nights of Sophia Petrillo" (S 4:Ep 2)
The Golden Girls Lillian Episode: "Sophia's Choice" (S 4:Ep 22)

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Ellen Rose Albertini, Cornell University alumna (class of 1935), e-yearbook.com; accessed June 23, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Ellen Albertini Dow : Credit Listings". TV.com. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  6. ^ McDonagh, Ross (May 5, 2015). "Ellen Albertini Dow, the rapping granny from The Wedding Singer who began her screen career in her 70s, dies aged 101". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved July 23, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Eugene Francis Dow, Jr". findagrave.com. Retrieved July 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ Pedersen, Erik (May 4, 2015). "‘Wedding Singer’ Rapping Granny Dead; Ellen Albertini Dow Was 101". Deadline. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Sister Act". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 20, 2015. }
  10. ^ Jordan, Louis (February 16, 2015). "54 Bombed in 1998. Now It's Been Resurrected as a Cult Gay Classic.". vulture.com. Retrieved September 20, 2015. 
  11. ^ "The Wedding Singer". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 20, 2015. 
  12. ^ Castillo, Monica (May 5, 2015). "'Wedding Crashers' Grandma Ellen Albertini Dow Dies at 101; Watch Her Best Performances [VIDEOS]". International Business Times. IBT Media. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]