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  • Dow Albertini Ellen


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Ellen Albertini Dow (1918)

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Ellen Albertini Dow is an American character actress. She often portrays feisty old ladies and is perhaps best known as the rapping grandmother who performs in the feature film The Wedding Singer. She also played a disillusioned, homophobic grandmother in Wedding Crashers, Disco Dottie in the movie 54 and a victim of Christopher Lloyd's slapstick in Radioland Murders. In 1992 she appeared alongside Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act as a member of the choir.


 life and career
Albertini Dow was born Ellen Albertini in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, the seventh child of immigrant parents, a car dealership owner father and a mother also named Ellen. She started studying dance and piano at age 5. She obtained a B.A. and M.A. in theatre from Cornell University, where she was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. She then moved to New York, where she studied and worked with the legendary dance greats Hanya Holm and Martha Graham. She studied acting with Michael Shurtleff and Uta Hagen and worked with the twentieth century’s greatest mimes, Marcel Marceau and Jacques Lecoq, in Paris. She did 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.

Albertini Dow worked as a director and choreographer for many productions including The Beggar's Opera at Carnegie Recital Hall, and light operas and operas, including The Magic Flute and Julius Caesar with famous German musical director Hugo Strelitzer, and was the producer/creator of Albertini Mime Players for 19 years. Awards include a Rockefeller grant for mime, Who’s Who Women , and a proclamation by Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley.

In an episode of Will & Grace, she portrayed the mother-in-law of Karen Walker, who referred to her as "the goiter." Upon inadvertently helping Will Truman muster some confidence, she becomes extremely upset when she realizes he's gay, exclaiming, "I helped a fairy get a date! Oh my God, I'm going to hell!"

Albertini Dow also played J. Peterman's dying mother in an episode of Seinfeld. George tells her his secret ATM code ("BOSCO"), believing that she is unconscious. However, she was not, and shouts out "BOSCO!" just before she dies. Dow also appeared in three episodes of The Golden Girls, playing different characters in each one. She showed in one episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide as a social studies teacher named Miss Knapp . She also guest starred in the Hannah Montana episode Debt It Be. She also played a dying woman in the Scrubs episode "My Faith in Humanity". She voiced Yzma's mother, Azma, on The Emperor's New School. Most recently, she guest starred as Emily Rose on the ABC series According to Jim. She was also just featured in Jeff Dunham's "Guitar Guy" Brian Haner's video, "Grandma Was A Racist".

She was married to Eugene Dow until his death in 2004.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Ellen Albertini Dow", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.