Ellen Albertini Dow

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Ellen Albertini Dow
Dow as Rosie in The Wedding Singer
Ellen Rose Albertini

(1913-11-16)November 16, 1913
DiedMay 4, 2015(2015-05-04) (aged 101)
Resting placeSaint Peter's Cemetery
Alma materCornell University (1935)
Occupation(s)Actress, acting coach
Years active1985–2013
Eugene Francis Dow Jr.
(m. 1951; died 2004)

Ellen Rose Albertini Dow (November 16, 1913 – May 4, 2015) was an American film and television character actress and drama coach. She portrayed feisty old ladies and is best known as the rapping grandmother Rosie in The Wedding Singer (1998), performing "Rapper's Delight". Dow's other film roles include elderly lady Mary Cleary 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 nun in Sister Act. She was best known to small screen audiences for her guest appearances on sitcoms The Golden Girls (playing Lillian, a friend of Sophia's) and Will & Grace (as Karen Walker's mother-in-law Sylvia).

Early life[edit]

Albertini was born on November 16, 1913, in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania,[1] the seventh and youngest child of Italian immigrant parents, Ellen and Oliver, from Non Valley, Trentino.[2][3] She studied dance and piano at age five and would later move to New York City, where she studied and worked with renowned dancers and choreographers Hanya Holm and Martha Graham.[4]

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



When Dow moved to Los Angeles with her husband, she taught drama at Los Angeles City College. She and her husband later taught at Los Angeles Pierce College.[6]


Albertini Dow did not start acting on screen until the 1980s, when she was in her seventies. Her television work includes appearances in such television series as Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Golden Girls, Newhart, Designing Women, Just Shoot Me, Will & Grace, Seinfeld, Ned's Declassified, Hannah Montana, Scrubs, Sister, Sister, According to Jim, Six Feet Under, Wings, The Nanny and My Name Is Earl.

Her film appearances include Tough Guys, My Blue Heaven, Sister Act, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Radioland Murders, The Wedding Singer, 54, Patch Adams, Road Trip and Wedding Crashers.

Personal life and death[edit]

Dow married Eugene Dow Jr. on June 27, 1951.[6] Eugene died on October 11, 2004. They had no children.[citation needed]

Dow died on May 4, 2015, at the age of 101 due to pneumonia.[7]

Dow was a practicing Roman Catholic and a lifelong Democrat.[8]



Year Title Role Notes ref
1985 American Drive-In Allison
1986 Tough Guys Old Lady
Body Slam Organist
Munchies Little Old Lady
Walk Like a Man Organist
1988 Going to the Chapel Grandma Haldane
1990 My Blue Heaven Nun
Genuine Risk Receptionist
1991 Blood and Concrete Old Lady
1992 Memoirs of an Invisible Man Mrs. Coulson
Sister Act Choir Nun #1 [9]
Twogether Mrs. Norton
Space Case Betsy
1993 Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Choir Nun #1
1994 Radioland Murders Organist
1995 Problem Child 3 Lila Duvane
1998 The Wedding Singer Rosie [10]
Carnival of Souls Mrs. Meltzer
54 Disco Dottie [11]
Patch Adams Aggie Kennedy
2000 Ready to Rumble Mrs. MacKenzie
Road Trip Mrs. Manilow
2001 Longshot Mrs. Fleisher
2002 Eight Crazy Nights See's Candies Box Voice
2005 Wedding Crashers Mary Cleary [12]
Halfway Decent Mrs. Kahn
2006 Fat Girls Mildred
2007 The Blue Hour Anabella
2008 Lonely Street Lydia the Librarian
2010 The Invited Natalie Shaw
2011 Not Another Not Another Movie Older Rose
2012 She Wants Me Grandma Elma
2013 Frank the Bastard Dora Final film role


Year Title Role Notes ref
1986 The Twilight Zone Mrs. Hotchkiss Episode: "Need to Know"
Mr. Belvedere Old Lady Episode: "Grandma"
The Twilight Zone Old Woman Episode: "The Storyteller"
1987 Beauty and the Beast Anna Lausch Episode: "Nor Iron Bars a Cage"
1988 Moonlighting Mrs. Baer Episode: "Los Dos DiPestos"
Mr. Belvedere Old Lady Episode: "The Trip: Part 1"
Webster Mrs. Crane Episode: "Papa's Big Romance"
The Golden Girls Mrs. Leonard Episode: "The Days and Nights of Sophia Petrillo"
Lillian Episode: "Sophia's Choice"
1991 Sarah Episode: "Older and Wiser"
1992 The Wonder Years Mrs. Tambora Episode: "Kevin Delivers"
1992 Down the Shore The Old Woman Episode: "Atlantic City"
1993 Star Trek: The Next Generation Felisa Howard Episode: "Sub Rosa"
1993 Family Matters Elderly Lady Episode: "Scenes From The Mall"
1994 Family Matters Mrs. Ostendorf Episode: "That's What Friends Are For"
1995 ER Mrs. Riblet Episode: "Hell & High Water"
Seinfeld Peterman's mother Episode: "The Secret Code"
1997 Beyond Belief - Fact or Fiction Aunt Connie Segment: "Mystery Lock"
Sabrina the Teenage Witch Homeowner Episode: "A River of Candy Corn Runs Through It"
1999 Just Shoot Me! Mrs. Gallo Episode: "Jack Vents"
2001 Will & Grace Sylvia Walker Episode: "The Young and the Tactless"
2005 Scrubs Betty Episode: "My Faith in Humanity"
Six Feet Under Roberta Episode: "Time Flies"
My Name Is Earl Gertrude Balboa Episode: "Broke Joy's Fancy Figurine"
2006 Hannah Montana Katherine McCord Episode: "Debt It Be"
Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide Miss Knapp Episode: "Social Studies/Embarrassment"
The Emperor's New School Azma Voice, episode: "The Bride of Kuzco"
2007 Cold Case Audrey Abruzzi Episode: "Torn"
2011 Shameless The Real Aunt Ginger Episode: "Aunt Ginger"
2012 Family Guy Aunt Helen Voice, episode: "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!"
2013 New Girl Aunt Ruthie Episode: "Chicago"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reference to Ellen Albertini Dow's 100th birthday, businessinsider.com; accessed November 17, 2014.
  2. ^ The father Oliverio Albertini was born on March 21, 1875, in Brez, Trentino and the mother Arcangela Stancher on May 29, 1882, in Tavon, Trentino.
  3. ^ Census 1920
  4. ^ a b Parker, Ryan (May 5, 2015). "Ellen Albertini Dow, 'Wedding Singer's' rapping granny, dies at 101". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  5. ^ Ellen Rose Albertini, Cornell University alumna (class of 1935), e-yearbook.com; accessed June 23, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Slotnik, Daniel E. (May 5, 2015). "Ellen Albertini Dow, Actress, Dies at 101; Rapping Granny in 'Wedding Singer'". The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  7. ^ Pedersen, Erik (May 4, 2015). "'Wedding Singer' Rapping Granny Dead; Ellen Albertini Dow Was 101". Deadline Hollywood. United States. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  8. ^ An Interview with Ellen Albertini Dow, Skip E. Lowe, 1998
  9. ^ "Sister Act". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "The Wedding Singer". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  11. ^ 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.
  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]