Dustin Diamond, who once gave life to the hilarious Screech in the ‘90s sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” passed away on February 1 after a short-lived battle against aggressive cancer. Here’s a look back at the ups and downs in his life.
The entertainment industry is still mourning the loss of Dustin Diamond, an actor, comedian, and unbeknown to many, a musician, whose rise to fame came at a pretty early age.
Like most child stars, Diamond struggled with the vast reach of his fame as he made the transition into adulthood, but he managed to come back from several scandals surrounding his name.
Sadly, the star lost his life after a 3-week battle against cancer. His death left fans and his former co-stars and shock but determined to celebrate his legacy and what a bright person he was.
Dustin Neil Diamond was born on Jan. 7, 1977, in San Jose, California to Mark and Jaimee Diamond. He had an older brother, Ryan, who died at age 8 from a heart condition.
Diamond started acting at a very young age. He made his first appearance as Samuel “Screech” Powers in “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” which was later retooled as “Saved by the Bell.”
The series, which followed a group of high school students and their principal, was a comedy that touched on some serious issues occasionally. Screech was the lovable nerd with a crush on the popular girl.
After “Saved by the Bell” ended in 1993, Diamond and a few of his castmates reprised their roles in the franchise’s spinoffs “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”
AFTER “SAVED BY THE BELL”
Diamond had a hard time finding suitable roles in television after his stint as Screech came to an end. He told Oprah Winfrey in 2013:
“I didn’t really know what I was going to do. It was hard to get work that wasn’t Screech-cloned stuff […] I had been working for the last 10 years, every single week, and I felt lost.”
Diamond went on to appear in reality TV shows like “The Weakest Link,” “Celebrity Boxing 2,” “Celebrity Fit Club,” and “Celebrity Big Brother,” where he clashed with several of the other contestants and show hosts.
In 2006, Diamond made headlines after the release of a sex tape. He would later mention that the man in the video was a double, but admitted to regretting and feeling embarrassed about the whole thing.
In 2009, his tell-all book “Behind the Bell” brought animosity between Diamond and his former castmates as he insinuated that they were doing drugs while filming “Saved by the Bell” and shunned him because he was considerably younger.
Diamond later told Winfrey that the book was written by a ghostwriter to fabricated stories based on a few conversations with Diamond to fill in space.
ENCOUNTERS WITH THE LAW
In December 2014, Diamond was arrested in Wisconsin after he allegedly stabbed a man in a bar. He claimed it was self-defense as the other man and his group had attacked his then-fiancée first.
Diamond was charged with disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon. He spent three months behind bars in 2016. He later described his experience in jail as “daunting,” as he told Mario Lopez in “Extra:”
“I found that as long as you follow the rules and stay with the system, it works. You can get in and out unscathed.”
Diamond was arrested again in May 2016 for violating his probation.
SHORT BATTLE WITH CANCER
Diamond was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma in early 2021 and started chemotherapy right away.
Sadly, he passed away on February 1, his rep confirmed in a statement that read in part:
“Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”
Some of Diamond’s former co-stars like Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Tiffani Thiessen, took to social to send their condolences to his family.
“Dustin Diamond was a character in and of himself: an unpredictable spitfire who always left us shocked, but never left us bored,” concluded his rep before asking for privacy for the late star’s family.