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The hot blonde actress stars as "Sami Brady" on NBC's daytime soap opera "Days Of Our Lives". Alison Sweeney has become pretty good at playing bad as proven by her third “Soap Opera Digest” Award in 1999 as Outstanding Villainess for her role as the rebellious and vindictive teenager Sami Brady, which she began in January 1993. She also earned the same honor in 1996 and 1998. In 2001, Sweeney was awarded her first “Soap Opera Digest” Award as a “good girl” in the category of Outstanding Younger Lead Actress. Sweeney made her picture-perfect television debut in a Kodak commercial at the age of 5. She soon began landing roles on such series as “Brand New Life,” “Family Man,” “I Married Dora,” “Tales From the Darkside,” NBC’s “St. Elsewhere,” “Webster” and “Simon & Simon.” Her feature film credits include Dyan Cannon’s “The End of Innocence” and “The Price of Life.” She also has appeared in stage productions of “Wedding Band” and “Traveling Lady.” Sweeney was raised in Los Angeles where she currently resides with her husband, David. In her spare time, she enjoys kickboxing, horseback riding, swimming, water-skiing, alpine skiing, inline skating and playing basketball, volleyball and softball. Aside from acting, she is also interested in other professions within the entertainment industry and hopes to become a TV or film director.
On January 6th, 1993, Alison Sweeney joined the cast of the Emmy Award-winning, NBC-TV series Days of Our Lives as Sami Brady -- the sassy, clever and sometimes dangerous daughter of Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall). In the U.S., Days of Our Lives is viewed by more than 5.9 million people per week and consistently ranks among the top three daytime dramas in the most important demographic to television advertisers -- Women 18-49.
Throughout her eight years on the series, Sweeney has taken Sami Brady from a troubled teen to a devoted young mother. In the process, Sweeney has won The Soap Opera Digest Award four times (1996, '98, '99 and 2001) and has graced more than fifty magazine covers. "Young Sweeney holds her own with the best of them on Days of Our Lives, including powerhouse Deidre Hall," wrote Soap Opera Digest. Soap Opera Weekly named Sweeney Breakout Performer of the Year in 1999 and praised her portrayal of Sami Brady as the stuff of which Emmy nominations are made.
In addition to her role on Days of Our Lives, Sweeney recently guest-starred on an episode of Friends. Opposite Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston, Sweeney portrayed an award-winning, diva actress.
Born in Los Angeles, California on September 19th, 1976 Sweeney has an older and younger brother; however, she is the only daughter of their concert and studio violinist mother (Dances with Wolves, Jaws) and their business investor father. Growing-up in a musical household, Sweeney tried following in her mother's footsteps with the violin; however, it wasn't long before she realized her true calling -- acting.
At the age of four, Sweeney began appearing in television commercials for products such as Kodak Film. At six, she appeared on Days of Our Lives for the first time in the role of Adrienne for two days of flashback sequences. Starring roles on Simon & Simon, Webster, St. Elsewhere, Family Man, Brand New Life, I Married Dora and Tales from the Darkside followed shortly thereafter. In Dyan Cannon's feature film The End of Innocence, Sweeney played the role of Stephanie (Cannon's character as a preteen), and she also starred as Alice in the film The Price of Life. Throughout her career, Sweeney has starred with such respected actresses as Dyan Cannon, Barbara Eden, Sally Kirkland and Mimi Kennedy.
Away from the television and film studios, Sweeney leads an active life. Her passions are swing dancing and riding her horse Apparition (nick-named Ghost). If she were not acting, writing and directing would be major career considerations. An extensive traveler, Sweeney has developed an appreciation for various cultures and speaks semi-fluent Spanish. When she has the opportunity to travel, her ideal destinations are Italy, France and anywhere she can find a ski slope. Sweeney recently married her childhood sweetheart, Dave, who is a California Highway Patrol Officer. They reside in Los Angeles.
Alison Sweeney On Her Wedding, Her Weight and Her Premature Mid-life Crisis
Alison Sweeney's wedding is a month away ("A month and a day and three hours. But who's counting?"), but the 23-year-old DAYS OF OUR LIVES star claims she's not nervous. "I'm not really freaking out," she insists. "My sister-in-law said, 'Are you not sleeping at night yet?' And I thought, 'Oh God, am I not going to be able to sleep at night?' But I have a lot of work here, so it's keeping me busy."
"Here" is at the show's Burbank studio, which Sweeney has called home for the last eight years and where she's done work that's earned her three Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Villainess. "People always tell me they're throwing things at the screen when I'm on and I love that," she smiles. "I love getting on-stage when I know I'm having a bitchy scene because I know in my head that people are going to be screaming at me. It makes me so happy."
Happy enough to stick around Salem when most of her peers have left for greener pastures. Though young, Sweeney has yet to feel restless. "I think that if I had a different character, maybe I would've gotten bored," she reflects. "But I have a character who has so many different sides to her and so many different parts of her personality . Plus, the people here are great. I think I've said before that Bryan [R. Dattilo, Lucas] is easily one of my favorite people. You know, there are definitely moments where it is a family and you have your squabbles, but I love the people I work with on the cast and crew."
And finally, Sweeney feels like she's a member of the "in" crowd. "When I started , I was the youngest person and working with Christie [Clark, Carrie] and Bryan and Patrick [Muldoon, ex-Austin]," she recalls. "They were all 21 and going out together and I couldn't do that, so I felt really alone, I couldn't hang out with them-I had to go home and do my homework. It got me on to a pattern of sticking to myself and doing school work here. Now, Julianne [Morris, Greta], Ari [Zuker, Nicole] and I get along really well, so it's fun having them to hang out with. I really have a good time."
Zuker and Morris (and of course, Dattilo) are among the cast members who were invited to Sweeney's July 8 nups to Dave Sanov, a childhood friend the actress started dating nearly three years ago. "I never really had a long-time relationship before Dave," she confides. "When I met him I just knew. I wasn't the type of person to spend time with somebody I didn't really want to be with. As a result, I went on a lot of dates, but never really committed to someone for a long period of time. With Dave, right away I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. And he felt the same way, I have to tell you. Maybe three months into our relationship, he said, 'Someday I'm going to ask you to marry me, and we're going to spend the rest of our lives together.' I couldn't believe he was saying it because that's something stereotypically a guy wouldn't say. But he was ready to make that commitment to me. And I knew that I was to him."
Mature words coming from such a young woman, but growing up in front of the cameras means growing up fast. "I feel when you're working as a soap actor, there's no real time for you to have attitude or to be young," she explains. "I learned that right away that you can't be a kid here. When you're working on a show that does at least a complete show every day, and you have to know 30 pages of dialogue a day, then be ready to come in tomorrow and do the same thing again, nobody really wants you to be in the limelight entertaining yourself and messing around. I feel that most of my work ethic stems from wanting to be respected in the way that I respected in the way that I respect other people."
Though she's not in the teen scene anymore ("Oh, God, don't remind me"), the actress is still getting to play new and exciting material, which she thinks may have something to do with her well-documented weight loss. "They writing a different storyline for me and it shows," she muses. "And they warn me if I am going to be in a bathing suit - something I didn't have to deal with for seven years. Maybe in a way that was a good thing! Now that it's been over a year, I think the focus shouldn't be on me losing the weight." But passing the torch to the younger set hasn't been easy, she clarifies. "It's funny, because Jensen [Ackles, Eric] and I both had such a mid-life crisis when these kids came on the show," Sweeney laughs. "First of all, getting to call them kids, 'cause they really are kids compared to us. And then with Kirsten [Storms, Belle] going- to high school, and having the best friend, I thought, 'That was me seven years ago. What's happened to me? Where did the time go?'"
Of course, time flies if you're having fun, and Sweeney's still having a blast. "Now there's a whole new side of Sami coming out with introducing the character of Brandon," she notes. "I think that it opens up a new world for her to play. I have, easily, another contract full of stuff to learn and experience!"
Alison Sweeney's Fear Factor
This was a special 90-Minute episode. Stephen Baldwin (BioDome), Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), Kevin Richardson (The Backstreet Boys), Alison Sweeney (Days of our Lives), Ali Landry (SPY TV) and Kelly Packard (Baywatch) arrived at a downtown rooftop on a crystal clear California day. As they peered upward at the building's additional floors stretching skyward, Joe explained their "Spiderman"-like stunt. They would each have to climb out a 36th floor window and using strategically spaced handholds make their way around the outside of the building! While navigating along a tiny ledge, they must transfer yellow flags from the starting point to the finish point. The four players who transfer the most flags in three minutes, advance.
While Stephen Baldwin talked macho trash talk, Kelly Packard rode the elevator up to the 36th floor. Once harnessed into a safety vest, Kelly made her way outside and around the building to post the first flag. She had a little trouble on her way back, but managed to place a second flag before time ran out. Ali Landry was next, and utilized a side-step technique. Ali's tall height may have been an advantage, enabling her to move faster and post three flags in three minutes. If Alison Sweeney could get two flags in less time than Kelly, she would bump Kelly out. Alison was focused and determined, which helped her beat Kelly's time before slipping off the ledge! As the men prepared to attempt the stunt, the women let them know just how difficult is was. Ali's shins were burning, Kelly's arms achedôit was more physical than it looked.
Kevin Richardson was up first. Would any of his dance moves come in handy? He did glide pretty quickly across the ledge, planting the first flag in twenty-five seconds! By the fourth flag, he looked shaky, but he placed it before time ran out. Stephen was a little less chatty by this point. Alan was pumped to "represent his demographic," and prepared to go next. Unfortunately, Alan couldn't get a grip - so to speak - and fell before planting a flag. This meant that all Stephen had to do was plant two flags to advance. Stephen - who had been promising record times and flags - transferred his two flags with time to spare, but quit while he was ahead! While Kelly and Alan had to take the "walk of shame," each of their charities would still receive ten thousand dollars a piece.
Day two found our celebrities in a dark, damp cellar-like atmosphere. When Joe revealed the stunt, Alison Sweeney's horrific reaction was only a tease of things to come. Each player would lay down in a Plexiglas "coffin", which was separated into three sections. From the knees down, players bare legs (they all had to wear shorts) would be covered in thousands of nightcrawlers (i.e. worms). Their midsections would be swarming in red and white snakes. And their heads would be surrounded by 3,000 hissing, crawling, gigantic Madagascar cockroaches. Plexiglas dividers would keep each section separate while players sorted out the white snakes from the red ones in a timed event. Alison was first. Words cannot describe how instantly she freaked out. Before the time even started, she was screaming. While simultaneously yanking the white snakes off of her chest and batting roaches off her face, Alison was shaking and screaming. Upon completing the stunt, she kept yelling at Joe to get her out of the box. Joe couldn't get her out until the snakes were safely removed, meaning Alison and the roaches had to wait together. Ali held Alison's hand, while the crew moved as fast as possible to clear the snakes. Alison was screaming "Get me out!" and telling everyone she was about to "seriously freak out." Once she was safely out of the box, she calmed down a little, saying "You think you have an idea of how creepy that would be [but it's] 150 times worse." She could barely watch as the others took their turns. Ali looked calm, but also a little unnerved by Alison's reaction. Ali calmly completed the "snake sort" in one minute, fifteen seconds. Kevin followed and remained calm even after a snake crossed the barrier and slithered over his face! With his time of one minute and thirty-three seconds, he joined Ali in the finals. Stephen was next and surprised everyone with an amazing time of one minute! Alison was out. Or was she?
Joe felt so bad about Alison's freak out and elimination, that he made her an offer. If she ate a roach, not only would she go to the final round, but Joe would eat one as well! Alison was thrilled at the idea of staying in the game, but not so thrilled about eating a roach. She made a bargain to eat three worms instead, and Joe agreed. So, after Alison literally choked down three slimy nightcrawlers, Joe choked down a big, fat, juicy roach!
A full moon greeted the players as they arrived on night three. There before them was a large tank of chilly water with a steel cage suspended above it. The cage, similar to the ones divers use to study sharks, had a key ring with three keys attached to it. Joe explained that each of them would be locked in the cage and lowered into the water. When a red light signaled them, they would have to free themselves and resurface to a nearby buoy. The person with the fastest time would win fifty-thousand dollars for his or her charity. Stephen went first, while the others tried to stay warm. Despite slamming his head against the side of the cage while exiting it, Stephen reached the buoy in an amazing 24 seconds!! Kevin was determined to beat that time, but knew it would be tough. Once submerged, he fumbled with the keys. Plus, when he resurfaced, Kevin was disoriented which also cost him valuable seconds. His final time was 43 seconds, which meant he was out. (And he didn't "want it that way.") Ali, a former swim team member, seemed confident as she was lowered into the water. After trying the lock, Ali panicked as she ran out of air and had to be rescued by the safety divers. She was immediately disqualified. Only spunky Alison remained. With a thumbs up she went into the water. She quickly freed herself and seemed primed to beat Stephen. However, a small hesitation at the surface cost her five seconds - and gave Stephen the victory! His prize money goes to the Carol Baldwin Cancer Research Fund founded by his mother.