Actor Dustin Diamond has died at the age of 44, according to Variety. Best known for his role Samuel “Screech” Powers in the hit NBC sitcom Saved By The Bell, he lost his battle with carcinoma Monday morning. Last month, the TV star was rushed into a Florida hospital with “pain all over his body” close friend Dan Block told The Sun. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung cancer, carcinoma and told that he didn’t have long to live. A close friend of Diamond, Block told the Sun that “He was told weeks to 5 months is the average but a small percentage of people have lived one to two years with it being stage 4.” According to that same Sun report Block said he had a “huge lump” on his neck for some time – but tragically put off going to the hospital in case people took photos and posted them online.
“In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system: the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution” according to Variety an official statement from his agent, Roger Paul. “Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that we are grateful.”
The late standup comedian and actor got his first acting credits for small roles in the TV movie Yogi’s Great Escape and an episode of It’s A Living in 1987 according to Variety. His first big break came in a role about one year later in the Disney channel sitcom Good Morning, Miss Bliss also known as Saved By The Bell: The Junior Years. The 13 episode series focused on a middle school teacher that balanced her personal life along with helping the very kids she taught in John F. Kennedy Junior High School. That series would spin off to become Saved By The Bell.
Diamond played screech until 1992 when he aged out of the Bayside High. Diamond continued to reprise his role for the franchise in various spin offs including Saved By The Bell: The College Years and Saved By The Bell: The New Class where he starred for six years according to Variety. The latest Saved By The Bell reboot did not feature the once beloved Bayside High character, Screech all grown up. Currently airing on NBC’s Peacock streaming service the reboot stars original cast mates like Mario Lopez (Extra, Holiday In Handcuffs), Mark–Paul Gosselaar (Franklin & Bash, Mixed-ish), Elizabeth Berkley (Showgirls, CSI:Miami) and more all reprising their roles as adults. Former fellow cast mate Mario Lopez posted about the loss of his close friend:
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According to CNN, Diamond stirred controversy in 2009 with his book Behind The Bell which shared his experience in the showbiz industry and backstage stories about shooting the hit sitcom Saved By The Bell. In 2014, Diamond also faced some legal troubles as he served three months in jail for stabbing a man at a bar in Wisconsin. He was arrested again in 2016 for violating the terms of his parole according to Variety.
According to Variety, the Saved By The Bell star continued to appear in a variety of shows and films including Made, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Four Corners Road, American Pie: The Book of Love leading up to 2006 when he released his infamous sextape Screeeched – Saved by the Smell. Variety reported that in a 2013 episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now? Diamond told Oprah that he was embarrassed by the tape and the paycheck “Wasn’t worth what the fallout was”. “Looking back now in my 30s, I realize that was really dumb” “People to this day look down on me. There’s a lot of people [who think] How disgusting of you.”
The stand up comedian and actor has appeared in many reality shows like Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Boxing 2, and Celebrity Championship Wrestling. The Saved By The Bell alumni also appeared in Funny or Die’s Zach Morris Is Trash, a critique and examination of the misogynistic ways fellow classmate Zach Morris displayed throughout the years of the sitcom.
According to Block, he was an avid Star Wars fan and loved the band Tool. He was watching youtube videos and learning to play the band’s songs in hopes of starting a tribute cover band for the band Tool. In fact, “There are two things Dustin asked for … the ability to talk to Justin Chancellor [Tool‘s Bassist] about music and to be able to visit Disney World to see Star Wars Galaxy Edge.” Block said in a statement to the Sun.
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