Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

Rapping Grandma From 'The Wedding Singer' Dies At 101

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
Your donation today keeps LAist independent, ready to meet the needs of our city, and paywall free. Thank you for your partnership, we can't do this without you.

Ellen Albertini Dow, a drama teacher-turned-character actor best known for her rendition of "Rapper's Delight" in The Wedding Singer, died on Monday afternoon. She was 101 years old.

Albertini Dow was a longtime drama and dance teacher who made her big-screen debut in her 70s: she worked steadily in TV and film after her 1985 debut for "American Drive-In." She also appeared on Broadway. She often played the granny with an edge in TV shows and movies, including Wedding Crashers, Sister Act, The Golden Girls and Seinfeld. Her most famous role was as Rosie in the 1998 Adam Sandler romcom—she ultimately inspires him to go for it with the Drew Barrymore character before spitting the Sugarhill Gang classic.

Her longtime manager Juliet Green confirmed the actress' death to Deadline. Albertini Dow was born in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, and she played the Borscht Belt as a part of a comedy act before heading out west to teach in the drama department at Los Angeles City College, according to Deadline. She later transferred to Pierce College in the Valley where her husband Eugene Dow had launched the theater department.

Support for LAist comes from

The department said in a post on Facebook that she primarily taught children's and musical theatre for years. She directed an original production of "The Fantasticks" in the late 60s and in the fall, the department honored her with a revival. She donated $150,000 to the department in 2005 to fund improvements.

She leaves behind several nieces and nephews in her native Pennsylvania.

"Ellen had a huge heart and loved making everyone laugh and smile," her agent Michael Greene told Deadline. "We will miss her greatly, and we will always remember her for the laughter she brought us all."

View image

Support for LAist comes from