Ellen Albertini Dow: Wedding Singer Granny
If you’ve been to a multiplex in the past few months, chances are Ellen Albertini Dow — familiar to Seinfeld fans as J. Peterman’s dying mother (think Bosco) — has made you laugh: The actress’ hilarious take on the Sugarhill Gang’s ”Rapper’s Delight” is the highlight of The Wedding Singer‘s ubiquitous trailer — and, as it turns out, the movie itself. How down is Dow (the 1935 Cornell University-graduate declines to reveal her age)? Here’s the 411.
1. What’s your favorite song?
”Young-at-Heart.” My husband and I really love Sinatra’s music.
2. How would you feel if Puffy Combs turned it into a rap song?
”Oh, my. I don’t know, I’d have to hear it. If he kept the wonderful philosophy of it…”
3. Would you hang out with a guy named Puffy?
Oh, why not? You know, you meet people with the wildest names today.
4. Have you ever been called MC Ellen?
MT Ellen? No. [But] I’ve been called Tini.
5. What does ”Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” mean?
Getting sticky with it? I don’t know….I would say maybe going off your rocker.
6. What was the first rap song you ever heard?
I really don’t know. But about two years ago, I took hip-hop dancing lessons. Not down on my head spinning, but, you know, I was sliding around and doing fast spin turns. I didn’t do badly, either.
7. Do you know who the Wu-Tang Clan are?
Wu-Tang? Some Asian theater group. Gymnastics, with ribbons and twirling.
8. What advice would you give other seniors who want to start rapping?
If you like it, do it. It’s a very happy thing, a big release. Just let go and swing.
9. If someone asked you to record an entire album of rap songs — Grannies With Attitude, say — how would you respond?
Well, I’d say, ”All right, that’s a good challenge. I’ll do it!” I love the creative process.
10. You were in the TV drama Sisters , the sitcom Sister, Sister, and both Sister Act films. Ever thought about becoming a nun?
In my young days, I wanted to get into theater, but my family thought acting and dancing weren’t worthy of their daughter. They gave me two months: ”Make Broadway or get out.” I had this pressure on me. So I went to church each morning — snow, rain, whatever — and prayed for luck. Finally, a priest asked, ”Would you like to be a nun?” I started to cry and said, ”I just want to be a dancer!” I wonder if he passed out.