Philece Sampler, best known to soap fans for her runs as Renée DiMera on Days of our Lives and Donna Love on Another World, has died of a heart attack. She was 67.
Remembering Philece Sampler
The news of the actress’s passing was reported on social media by her pal, author/singer Nelson Aspen. “Heartbroken to receive the call today that my dear friend, Philece Sampler, has passed away from a heart attack, just shy of her 68th birthday,” Aspen posted on Instagram.
“She was an amazingly energetic, loving, and loyal friend,” Aspen added. “I first met Philece in 1987 when we were both working on Another World. She joined the cast after successful runs on Days of our Lives and the primetime serial Rituals.”
Born Debra Philece Sampler in San Angelo Texas on July 16, 1953, Sampler graduated from the University of North Texas in 1975 with a drama degree. She began her career in Hollywood appearing on B.J. and the Bear, Fantasy Island, and The Incredible Hulk. Sampler became a household name to soap fans after joining the cast of DAYS as Renée DuMonde, the sister of Lee DuMonde (Brenda Benet).
Her love interests included Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis) and David Banning (Gregg Marx). The show’s writers further developed her character by revealing Renee was actually Lee’s daughter and her father was none other than Stefano DiMera (Joseph Mascolo).
“So sorry to hear that Philece Sampler has passed on,” Penghlis shared on social media along with a photo of himself, Mascolo, Benet, and Sampler. “Always the pro, that day we celebrated the DiMera family on Days. It’s hard to believe that all three actors have made their transition. Today I celebrate having known such talented pros. Here’s to Joseph, Brenda & Philece. Xx.”
Renée survived being attacked by the Salem Strangler (Jake Kositchek, played by Jack Coleman) but later succumbed to the Salem Stalker (Andre DiMera, played by Penghlis). The actress next joined the cast of the syndicated soap opera Rituals as Lacey opposite Kin Shriner’s (Scotty Baldwin, General Hospital) Mike. The show ran in the afternoons in some markets, evenings in others.
In 1986, Sampler moved to New York to take over the role of Donna Love from Anna Stuart on Another World. She played the part for three years. The majority of Sampler’s close to 200 performing credits were in the voiceover or voice-acting world. Her animated series credits include Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, The Bonfire of Destiny, The Promised Neverland, and Goldie and Bear.
Sampler also voiced the character of Betty Ross in the animated series The Incredible Hulk in 1996 after appearing as Laurie in the series originating in the ’70s. Behind the scenes, she served as an associate producer of a Los Angeles stage production of the play Sordid Lives by Del Shores. Sampler was wed to Larry Dean on July 10, 1999. Soap Hub extends sincere sympathies to Sampler’s family and loved ones at this difficult time.
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So sorry to hear that Philece Sampler has passed on. Always the pro, that day we celebrated the DiMera family on Days. It’s hard to believe that all three actors have made their transition. Today I celebrate having known such talented pro’s. Here’s to Joseph, Brenda & Philece. Xx pic.twitter.com/2HgkaeNB5a
— Thaao Penghlis (@ThaaoPenghlis) July 2, 2021