Most soap opera fans can't imagine Days of our Lives without Alison Sweeney playing the role of Sami Brady, but the beloved actress -- who is back on the NBC soap opera "with a bang" this week -- almost wasn't able to audition for or accept the part back in 1987 due to school obligations set out by her family.
"I was a junior in high school and my dad was really serious about my academics and my going to college. He thought I should take a break from all the auditioning and focus on my schoolwork," Sweeney recalls in a new interview with EW. "So, I remember really selling him on this idea that, well, I won't audition as often but there's this one I really want to do because it's my favorite show. Just one more time!"
Luckily, her father relented, and the actress was able to audition in front of former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom and later screen tested with Patrick Muldoon (ex-Austin Reed).
"I had such a crush on him that I blushed bright red!" the actress shares of her audition with Muldoon. "The producer at the time said that was a big part of how I got the job."
Sweeney recalls that after she accepted the role of Sami, she was able to continue her high school education by attending school in the mornings and filming at DAYS in the afternoons. But when graduation time came around, she had to convince her father that the opportunity of being on DAYS was worth rethinking her plan to go to college.
"For my senior year, I was applying to colleges like normal. My dad was really serious about it, even though I had a three-year contract with DAYS," she says. "I took my SATs and toured colleges. We went to Northwestern, where the dean of the entertainment school pulled my dad aside and said, 'Please don't make her do this. Kids go to four years of college to have the opportunity she has. When she gets fired, we'll accept her but don't make her give up this opportunity.' I'm so grateful. That turned my dad around!"
For more from Sweeney about her career, including memories from her childhood roles on Webster and St. Elsewhere, read EW's full item here. And to find out what DAYS writers have planned for Sami's explosive return to Salem at the end of this week, click here.
What do you think about Alison Sweeney's memories from her Days of our Lives audition? How do you feel about the actress returning to the role of Sami this week? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.