The multifaceted Ellen Albertini was a student of dance and piano at the age of five, and obtained a B.A. and M.A. in theater from Cornell University. She moved to New York, and studied and worked with the legendary likes of Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Michael Shurtleff, Uta Hagen, Marcel Marceau, and Jacques Lecoq in Paris. She was an acting coach before she made her debut film appearance in American Drive-In (1985), and later became memorable as the rapping grandmother in The Wedding Singer (1998), Disco Dottie in 54 (1998) and the homophobic grandmother in Wedding Crashers (2005).