Ellen Albertini, rapping granny from The Wedding Singer, dead at 101
Appeared in several film and TV comedies
Ellen Albertini Dow, a feisty character actress best known for her salty rendition of Rapper's Delight in The Wedding Singer, has died. She was 101.
Her agent, Juliet Green, confirmed to The Associated Press that Dow died Monday.
Her breakout version of the Sugarhill Gang rap in The Wedding Singer led to memorable and often foul-mouthed character roles in films like Wedding Crashers, Road Trip and 54, as the drug-addled party girl Disco Dottie.
Dow's numerous television credits include Seinfeld, ER, Will and Grace, Six Feet Under, and New Girl, which, at age 99, would be one of her last on-screen appearances.
The Mount Carmel, Penn., native studied theatre and dance for most of her life and obtained a master's degree from Cornell when that was still a rarity for women.
After graduating, Dow moved to New York City to work with the likes of dance greats Hanya Holm and Martha Graham and acting mentors like Michael Shurtleff and Uta Hagen. In Paris, she even studied with mimes Marcel Marceau and Jacques LeCoq.
Dow met her husband, Eugene Dow, in the New York theatre scene in 1951. The two performed and taught together over the course of their 53-year marriage, until Eugene Dow died in 2004.
With a rich life in academia and theatre already behind her, Ellen Dow didn't even begin her on-screen acting career until she was in her 70s, when she got her first job on The Twilight Zone.
"She was always amazed and delighted to be recognized when strangers approached her on the street to tell her how much they loved her," said Green in an email. "She was fiercely independent and hated when anyone tried to treat her like an old lady."