Dustin Diamond who played the quirky character of Screech Powers on NBC’s 90s Saturday morning show Saved by the Bell died in a Florida hospital on February 1, 2021.
He was 44 years old.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) February 1, 2021
Here are three things to know about Diamond.
1. He Never Escaped The Shadow Of Playing Screech.
Diamond’s greatest claim to fame was playing the role of Screech Powers.
RIP Dustin Diamond, best known for his role as Screech on ‘Saved By The Bell’. RIP Screech 💔 pic.twitter.com/8ax5whh8C0
— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) February 1, 2021
Saved by the Bell debuted on Saturday mornings in August 1989 and ran through May 1993.
Diamond joined Mario Lopez, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Lark Voorhies, Elizabeth Berkley, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as the original cast.
Lopez, Thiessen, Gosselaar, and Diamond also appeared in the spinoff show Saved by the Bell :The College Years which aired for one season through February 1994.
Diamond’s journey after Saved by the Bell did not turn out as successful as Lopez, Thiessen, or Gosselaar’s; all three of them were able to transition into other roles in television or entertainment.
Since 2000, Diamond made many cameo appearances or joined reality shows like Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit on the Side (a British show).
2. He Fell Out Of Touch With His Castmates.
With the advent of the Peacock streaming network in 2020 and in the age of reboots, Saved by the Bell found itself front and center again.
The rebooted series premiered in November and all of the original castmates either star, guest star, or appear in the show except for Diamond.
Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, who portrays Jessie Spano and is also a producer on the reboot, addressed Diamond’s absence on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live in November.
“We’ll see if there’s another season. Maybe it’s something to explore, and I haven’t talked to him in a long time. Honestly, since I think we finished the show is the last time I actually spoke to him, but not because of anything bad. I mean, he was always nice to me and he’s had his journey, but really I’ve kept more in touch with Mark-Paul (Gosselaar), Tiffani (Thiessen), Mario (Lopez) and then, from time to time, Lark (Voorhies).”
Many speculate the Diamond burned the bridge with his scandalous book.
Diamond wrote a 2009 memoir called Behind the Bell.
It inspired a Lifetime movie in 2014.
He shared behind-the-scenes secrets that contrasted greatly with the wholesome image the actors and the show portrayed.
There was no evidence of ill will today; Gosselaar tweeted kind words after learning of Diamond’s death.
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Looking back at our time working together, I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce. A pie in your face, my comrade.
— Mark-Paul Gosselaar (@MPG) February 1, 2021
3. His Cancer Diagnosis Occurred Just Three Weeks Ago.
Diamond was admitted to the hospital on January 12, 2021 because he experienced pain all over his body.
After extensive testing, he was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma, a form of lung cancer.
By the time it was found, it had metastasized to other parts of his body.
Though his diagnosis was grim, Diamond began chemotherapy on January 21.
Patients with his condition live anywhere from weeks to 5 months.
His condition had declined rapidly, and he died with his father by his bedside.
He was preceded in death by his mother who died from breast cancer.