Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on Saved by the Bell for over a decade, has passed away at age 44 after battling stage 4 lung cancer.
Saved by the Bell star Dustin Diamond has died at age 44. Diamond rose to fame as lovable dork Samuel “Screech” Powers on the popular 90s sitcom Saved by the Bell. Diamond portrayed the chess-playing sidekick from 1988-2000, first appearing on the Disney Channel sitcom Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which was canceled after 13 episodes and was retitled as Saved by the Bell on NBC, paling the focus on Miss Bliss’ students moving onto high school. Diamond played Screech on Saved by the Bell for all four seasons before continuing into Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Saved by the Bell: The New Class (which lasted for seven seasons). Diamond was 23 years old when the last episode of The New Class aired.
Following his Saved by the Bell run, Diamond went on to pursue a career in stand-up comedy before appearing in many game and reality television shows, including Weakest Link, Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Boxing 2, Celebrity Fit Club, and Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. The original core cast members returned for Peacock’s Saved by the Bell reboot series last year, but Diamond’s Screech was notably missing. Screech was explained to be living on the International Space Station with a robot he built. Earlier in January, Diamond was confirmed to have been undergoing treatment in a Florida hospital after being diagnosed with a “serious” form of cancer. Diamond did not disclose much information about his illness at the time but asked for privacy.
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Diamond passed away Monday after battling stage 4 lung cancer. A representative told The Wrap in a statement that Diamond died Monday morning from small-cell carcinoma but did not suffer. He was 44 years old. “He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago,” the statement read. “In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution.” The statement went on to read:
We are aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most. He’s had a history of mishaps, of unfortunate events. We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent. He — much like the rest of those who act out and behave poorly — had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache. His actions, though rebuke-able, stemmed from loss and the lack of knowledge on how to process that pain properly. In actuality, Dustin was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh. He was able to sense and feel other peoples’ emotions to such a length that he was able to feel them too — a strength and a flaw, all in one.
As the statement above mentions, Diamond had his share of controversies over the years, including a three-month stint in jail after an incident where he stabbed another bar patron with a switchblade in 2014. The former child actor has also been in a bit of a feud with his Saved by the Bell co-stars since 2009 when he published the tell-all book Behind the Bell, in which he spilled behind-the-scenes secrets on set, which detailed illicit sex and drug use among the cast. The allegations in the book were denied by his co-stars, and he later claimed that the book was ghost-written and he was not able to remove some of the stories before it came out.
Diamond’s Screech was a beloved part of Saved by the Bell, from sharing his first kiss with Tori Spelling’s Violet Bickerstaff to returning to Bayside High as Principal Belding’s assistant in The New Class. Despite any negative history, Diamond’s former co-stars such as Mario Lopez, Tiffany Thiessen, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar have shared tributes on social media, remembering and honoring the actor who brought heart and humor to 90s teens’ TV screens every Saturday morning.
RIP Dustin Diamond: 1977-2021
Source: The Wrap
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Molly Feser (194 Articles Published)
Molly is a movie/TV news writer for Screen Rant with a love for all things pop culture. She received her bachelor’s in Journalism from George Mason University and her master’s in Journalism & Public Affairs from American University. She’s written for a variety of online publications, including her online graduate publication The Wash, Her Campus and Arlington Magazine. She especially loves writing about movies, TV and musical theatre.