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Ellen Albertini Dow, rapping granny from ‘The Wedding Singer,’ dies at 101

No matter how many years it has been since you saw the 1998 Adam Sandler movie, “The Wedding Singer,” there is likely one performance you remember. Rosie, the older adult vocal student who paid Sandler’s character Robbie Hart Sandler in meatballs and performed an energetic cover of “Rapper’s Delight.” Ellen Albertini Dow, the actress who brought Rosie (and The Sugarhill Gang’s lyrics) to life died Monday at the age of 101, Deadline reported Monday.

“I don’t want to be (considered) an actor good for her age, I want to be known as a good actor,” Albertini Dow told the Los Angeles Times in an interview shortly after the release of “The Wedding Singer.”

Born in Pennsylvania in 1913, Albertini Dow would not begin her screen acting career until she was in her 70s. She left Pennsylvania to study acting and pursue a career in New York City. There she performed as part of a comedy act and directed stage productions. She also worked alongside mimes Marcel Marceau and Jacques Lecoq in Paris before moving to California to teach acting at Los Angeles City College. Later, she moved to Pierce College to teach in the theater department founded by her husband, Eugene Dow.

She retired from teaching in 1985, and made her film debut in “American Drive-In” that same year. In addition to “The Wedding Singer,” Albertini Dow appeared in the films “Sister Act,” “Patch Adams” and “Wedding Crashers,” among others. She also made cameos in a number of popular TV shows including “The Golden Girls,” “Family Matters” and “Seinfeld.” In 2013, she appeared in an episode of the Fox sitcom “New Girl.”

Albertini Dow’s memorable rendition of “Rapper’s Delight” can be heard on the first of two “Wedding Singer” soundtracks. Undoubtedly, the song contributed to the success of the double platinum album, which made the Billboard Top 5.

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