Saved by the Bell: Dustin Diamond Passes Away, Age 44; Cast Responds

Dustin Diamond, best known for his role as Samuel "Screech" Powers on the NBC Saturday morning hit Saved by the Bell passed at the age of 44 from lung cancer. For 12 seasons over 11 years and three series, Diamond played the lovable nerd and best friend of Zack Morris, played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Despite the character's brilliance, he was always taken advantage of by his scheming best friend. Many of us WERE Screech growing up socially awkward and trying to gain acceptance whether if it's getting manipulated to get-rich-quick scams, saving the day with science, or falling flat on his face in constant rebuffs from Lisa (Lark Voorhies). No matter what shortcomings, he was still accepted to this day by his fellow cast members.

Saved by the Bell: Screech Actor Dustin Diamond Passes at 44
Dustin Diamond as Samuel "Screech" Powers in Saved by the Bell (1989). Image courtesy of NBC Universal

Remembering Saved by the Bell's Dustin Diamond

Diamond's Screech grew up on the series as the character from student to college to principal's assistant on the series two original spinoffs The New Class and College Years (with Gosselaar, Lopez, and Tiffani Thiessen). Appearing on over 50 projects, the actor was often typecast in other socially awkward roles or some fictionalized parody of himself. Diamond was one of the original four cast members from the Disney Channel's Good Morning, Miss Bliss to make the transition in the cast overhaul to NBC's Saved by the Bell along with Gosselaar, Voorhies, and Dennis Haskins, who played Principal Richard Belding. The actor and Haskins carried over to star in The New Class in 1993. He also appeared in the two made-for-TV films of the original series but didn't appear in Peacock's 2020 sequel series that reunited the remaining original student cast.

Saved by the Bell: Mario Lopez Supports Dustin Diamond's Cancer Fight
Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris, Dustin Diamond as Screech, and Mario Lopez as AC Slater in Saved by the Bell. Image courtesy of NBCU

Some of his former castmates posted their tributes to Diamond. "Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius," Gosselaar wrote. "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." "Dustin, you will be missed my man," Lopez wrote. "The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on…" He added he hopes there will be a tribute in the second season of the Peacock series. "We were really hoping he'd make an appearance on Season 2," Lopez tells Variety. "Now I'm really going to push for some sort of tribute. I would love a whole episode dedicated to some of his most iconic moments or something like that. We have a lot of very creative minds who can try to figure it out, but I haven't had those conversations yet." "I am deeply saddened by I the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing," Thiessen wrote. "Life is extremely fragile and it's something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin." 

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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