Ellen Albertini Dow

Ellen Albertini Dow

Born: November 16, 1913
Died: May 4, 2015 (at age 101)
Birthplace: Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, U.S.

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.

Early life

Albertini was born on November 16, 1913 in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, the seventh and youngest child of Italian immigrant parents, Ellen and Oliver, from South Tyrol. Oliver was a car dealership owner. 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.

Secondary education

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


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.

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, According to Jim, Six Feet Under, Wings and My Name is Earl.

Personal life

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


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


n.b. for credit listings reference


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


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)
2001 Will & Grace Sylvia Walker Episode: "The Young and the Tactless" (S 3:Ep 21)

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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