Ellen Albertini Dow

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

(1913-11-15)November 15, 1913
DiedMay 4, 2015(2015-05-04) (aged 101)
Alma materCornell University (1935)
OccupationActress, acting coach
Years active1985–2013
Spouse(s)Eugene Dow, Jr. (m. 1951 – d. 2004)

Ellen Rose Albertini Dow (November 15, 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

Albertini was born on November 15, 1913, in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania,[1][2] the seventh and youngest child of Italian immigrant parents, Ellen and Oliver, from South Tyrol.[3] Oliver was a car dealership owner.[2] She studied dance and piano at age five and would later move to New York, where she studied and worked with renowned dancers and choreographers 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.[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, as well as in 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, 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.

Personal life

Dow married Eugene Dow Jr. on June 27, 1951. She described herself as an avid hat collector.[5] Eugene died on October 11, 2004. They had no children.


Dow died on May 4, 2015, at the age of 101 due to pneumonia.[6]


n.b. for credit listings reference[5]


Year Title Role Notes ref
1985 American Drive-In Allison
1986 Tough Guys Old Lady
Body Slam Organist
1986 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 American comedy film [7]
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 American romantic comedy film written by Tim Herlihy and directed by Frank Coraci [8]
Carnival of Souls Mrs. Meltzer
54 Disco Dottie American drama film written and directed by Mark Christopher [9]
Patch Adams Aggie Kennedy American semi-biographical comedy-drama film directed by Tom Shadyac
2000 Ready to Rumble Mrs. MacKenzie American buddy comedy film
Road Trip Mrs. Manilow American comedy film
2001 Longshot Mrs. Fleisher
2002 Eight Crazy Nights See's Candies Box Voice
2005 Wedding Crashers Mary Cleary American comedy film directed by David Dobkin [10]
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" (S1: Ep 51)
Mr. Belvedere Old Lady Episode: "Grandma" (S3: Ep 2)
The Twilight Zone Old Woman Episode: "The Storyteller" (S2: Ep 5)
1987 Beauty and the Beast Anna Lausch Episode: "Nor Iron Bars a Cage" (S1: Ep 7)
1988 Moonlighting Mrs. Baer Episode: "Los Dos DiPestos" (S4: Ep 8)
Mr. Belvedere Old Lady Episode: "The Trip, part 1" (S4: Ep 13)
Webster Mrs. Crane Episode: "Papa's Big Romance" (S6: Ep 4)
The Golden Girls Mrs. Leonard Episode: "The Days and Nights of Sophia Petrillo" (S4: Ep 2)
The Golden Girls Lillian Episode: "Sophia's Choice" (S4: Ep 22)
1991 The Golden Girls Sarah Episode: "Older and Wiser" (S6: Ep 18)
1992 The Wonder Years Mrs. Tambora Episode: "Kevin Delivers" (S6: Ep 8)
1993 Star Trek: The Next Generation Felisa Howard Episode: "Sub Rosa" (S7: Ep 14)
1994 Family Matters Mrs. Ostendorf Episode: "That's What Friends Are For" (S5: Ep 3)
1995 ER Mrs. Riblet Episode: "Hell & High Water" (S2: Ep 7)
1995 Seinfeld Peterman's mother Episode: "The Secret Code" (S7: Ep 7)
1997 Beyond Belief - Fact or Fiction Aunt Connie Segment: "Mystery Lock"
2001 Will & Grace Sylvia Walker Episode: "The Young and the Tactless" (S3: Ep 21)
2005 Scrubs Betty Episode: "My Faith in Humanity" (S4: Ep 23)
2005 Six Feet Under Roberta Episode: "Time Flies" (S5: Ep 4)
2006 Hannah Montana Katherine McCord Episode: "Debt it Be" (S1: Ep 20)
2007 Cold Case Audrey Abruzzi Episode: "Torn" (S4: Ep 21)
2011 Shameless The Real Aunt Ginger Episode: "Aunt Ginger" (S1: Ep 3)
2013 New Girl Aunt Ruthie Episode: "Chicago" (S2: Ep 20)

See also


  1. ^ Reference to Ellen Albertini Dow's 100th birthday, businessinsider.com; accessed November 17, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ellen Albertini Dow profile, FilmReference.com; accessed May 26, 2014.
  3. ^ Census 1920
  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. ^ Pedersen, Erik (May 4, 2015). "'Wedding Singer' Rapping Granny Dead; Ellen Albertini Dow Was 101". Deadline.com. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  7. ^ "Sister Act". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Wedding Singer". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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

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