Nancy Dow

Date of Birth: July 22, 1936

Place of Birth: West Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.

Date of Death: May 25, 2016

Place of Death: Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: Italian-Arbëreshë/Albanian (maternal grandfather), Scottish, English, possibly Irish

Nancy Dow was an American actress.

Nancy was the daughter of Louise Mae (Grieco) and Gordon McLean Dow. She had a son, assistant director and second-unit director John T. Melick III, with her former husband, bandleader and pianist Jack Melick; and a daughter, actress Jennifer Aniston, with her former husband, Greek-born actor John Aniston. She was also billed as Nancy Aniston.

Nancy was of one quarter Italian-Arbëreshë/Albanian, as well as of Scottish, and some English, descent. On Inside the Actors Studio (2011), Nancy’s daughter Jennifer stated that Nancy also had Irish, as well as “a little splash of Greek,” ancestry; it is not clear where on Nancy’s family tree Greek ancestry came from.

Nancy’s paternal grandfather was Francis Dow (the son of James Dow and Katherine/Catherine Stewart). Francis was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. James was a Scottish immigrant. Katherine was of Scottish descent, the daughter of Duncan Stewart and Catherine McIntosh.

Nancy’s paternal grandmother was Ellen Sarah McLean (the daughter of Neil McLean and Mary Henderson). Ellen was born in St. Francis, Maine. Neil was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of Neil/Neal McLean and Jane Bran Scott. Mary was born in Maine, the daughter of John Henderson, who was Scottish, from Inverness, and of Sarah Ann Diamond, who was born in Campbelltown, New Brunswick, to American parents, who were descended from English immigrants of the Colonial American period.

Nancy’s maternal grandfather was named Louis Grieco. In U.S. Censuses, Louis Grieco lists himself as having been born in either Italy or New York; on the 1920 and 1930 U.S. Censuses, Louis states that his parents were born in Albania and spoke Albanian. Nancy wrote in her book, From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir, 1999, that Louis was born in Mèlito di Porto Salvo, Italy. It is likely that his family was from the Arbëreshë community, ethnic Albanians who lived in Italy. They may have been from Maschito, an Arbëreshë enclave in Basilicata.

Nancy’s maternal grandmother was named Mae Dunbar. Mae was born in Pennsylvania, to parents who were also born in Pennsylvania. It is unclear what her ancestry was. The surname Dunbar is usually found in Scotland and England.

Sources: Family history of Nancy Dow –

Nancy Dow on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Nancy’s mother on the 1910 U.S. Census –
Nancy’s mother on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Nancy’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Nancy Dow (incorrectly identifies Nancy’s maternal grandparents as Michael Grieco and Carmela Pecoraro) –

Family tree of Nancy, through her daughter, Jennifer Aniston (incorrectly identifies Nancy’s maternal grandparents as Michael Grieco and Carmela Pecoraro) –


Curious about ethnicity

4 Responses

  1. follers says:

    Ethnic, is there a picture, please?

  2. celebfan says:

    I did some research of my own. All of the sites I saw claims that the surname “Dunbar” is of Scottish origin. It’s a residence name for a town on the North Sea a short distance from Edinburgh, Scotland.

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