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Ellen Albertini Dow

Ellen Albertini Dow

Nov. 16th, 1918
Born in
Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, USA

Ellen Albertini Dow's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Maybe It's Me TV Show
Maybe It's Me
The Building TV Show
The Building
Payne TV Show

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Ellen Albertini Dow (born November 16, 1918) is an American character actress. She often portrays feisty old ladies and is perhaps best known as the rapping grandmother in the 1998 motion picture The Wedding Singer. Other film roles include the homophobic grandmother in Wedding Crashers, Disco Dottie in 54, the recipient of Christopher Lloyd's slapstick in Radioland Murders, and a choir member in Sister Act.
Life and career Dow was born in 1918 in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, the seventh child of ethnic Italian immigrant parents from Tyrol, Austria. Her father, Oliver, was a car dealership owner, and her mother was also named Ellen.[1] She studied dance and piano at age five. She obtained a B.A. and M.A. in theatre from Cornell University, where she became a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. She then moved to New York, where she studied and worked with legendary dancers Hanya Holm and Martha Graham.
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 in Massachusetts, Long Island, 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 also founded the Albertini Mime Players and was its producer for 19 years.[citation needed]
Dow's television work includes appearances in such television series as Will & Grace, Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, Hannah Montana, Scrubs, and According to Jim.

  • She taught drama & dance for 30 years.
  • Is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority.
  • Husband Eugene "Gene" Dow Jr. was a teacher (1957-1983) and the founder of the theater arts department at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California, in addition to being a director, writer, composer and decorated WWII hero. During his tenure he became a mentor to such actors as Cindy Williams and Talia Shire.
  • Was one of the "irregular" regulars on Golden Girls, playing more than 3 different bit characters during the show's run.
  • Educated at Cornell University.
  • Did the actual rapping in "The Wedding Singer" which appears on the CD soundtrack
  • Raised in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania.

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