It was a gasp heard ‘round the soap world: yesterday morning on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Days of our Lives veteran Alison Sweeney announced that she will be leaving the show after this year. She will tape episodes through 2014 that will likely air until April 2015 because of how far the show tapes ahead.
Alison took over the role of Samantha Brady in January 1993 (the role had previously been played by several child actresses). She was just 16 years old. Alison brought a fiery, passionate spirit to Sami Brady, making her the character everyone “loved to hate.” Before she’d even been on the show for two years, Sami had managed to witness her mother’s affair with John Black, drug and seduce her sister’s boyfriend and attempt to kidnap her baby sister. Sami has not had many drama-free days since.
Alison explained that she loves the show and she loves her character, but she hasn’t had many lowkey days herself. Aside from her role as Sami, Alison has hosted The Biggest Loser for seven years, directed episodes of Days and had several books published (her second novel will be released later this year). Since January 1993, Alison has never taken more than a two week vacation from Salem. She is leaving mainly to spend more time with her children, Ben and Megan, ages 9 and 5.
Ali is uncertain about how her character will be written off or if she will be replaced. There is no specific timetable for Sami’s departure.
“It would be awesome to have some kind of happy ending,” she said on Ellen. “But then, I also think Sami probably deserves some sort of very twisted, like Breaking Bad ending.”
One thing is certain: no one will ever play Samantha Gene Brady like Alison Sweeney. For those who have watched the show for decades, her departure, while respected and understood, marks the sad end of a dramatic era.