said a hip hop, a hibbi to da hibbi da hip hip hoppin', ya don't stop a-rockin'
to da bang bang boogie say up jump da boogie to da rhythm to da boogie da beat!"
It doesn't matter how many years have gone by since you last watched the 1998
Adam Sandler movie The Wedding Singer
there is likely one performance you remember: Rosie, the elderly vocal
student who paid Sandler's character Robbie Hart in meatballs and performed an
energetic cover of "Rapper's Delight." Ellen Albertini Dow, the
actress who brought Rosie to life, died on May 4, 2015, at the hip-hoppin' age
While she is certainly best remembered as the "rappin' granny," she
also portrayed Barry's grandma in Road
; the foul-mouthed, homophobic Grandma Cleary in Wedding Crashers
; and one of the singing nuns from the Sister Act
movies. While her big-screen
roles are impressive, her television credits read like a short history of TV: The Twilight Zone
, Murphy Brown
The Golden Girls
, The Wonder Years
, Family Matters
, Star Trek:
The Next Generation
, and voices for Family Guy
. Her last acting role was at
the age of 99, as Aunt Ruthie on the hit TV show New Girl
Dow was born in 1913 in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. After obtaining a bachelor's
and master's from Cornell University, she performed alongside legendary mimes
Marcel Marceau and Jacques Lecoq in Paris, before earning her first on-screen
credits in the mid-1980s, when she was already in her 70s. She also taught
drama and dance for more than three decades.
In The Wedding Singer
, Dow's age and
slight stature (she was just shy of 5 feet tall) made her an improbable
candidate to cover the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." Adam
Sandler and director Frank Coraci "thought it would take days and nights
to get it," Dow told the New York
when the movie came out. But she had a knack for delivering the
unexpected. She refused to lip-sync the scene, according to a 2006 interview. Instead,
she opted to memorize the lyrics and add her own dance moves: flinging her
hands up on the words "bang bang," a sprightly hop during the phrase "up
jump the boogie."
"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
her agent, Juliet Green. "She was fiercely independent and hated when
anyone tried to treat her like an old lady."
In your honor, Ellen, no old lady stuff here, just some really bad rap:
Said you weren't worth a whole lotta points, but we'd like to thank you anyway
1 for the hit + 1 for the trio, certainly made our day
From Eternity Tours, the Farmer of Worms, and the man they call Master Ed V
Ellen Albertini Dow, now your rappin' is heavenly!
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