Died: May 4, 2015 (at age 101)
Birthplace: Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, U.S.
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 "Rappers 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 And Grace (as Karen Walker‘s mother-in-law Sylvia).Albertini was born on November 15, 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 renowned dancers and choreographers Hanya Holm and Martha Graham.
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, 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
Dow married Eugene Dow, Jr. on June 27, 1951. Ellen described herself as an avid hat collector. Eugene died on October 11, 2004. They had no children.
Dow died on May 4, 2015, at the age of 101 due to pneumonia.