Dustin “Screech” Diamond of ‘Saved by the Bell’ Fame Dead at 44

 

Dustin Diamond, who spent 13 seasons as the goofy nerd Screech on the Saturday morning sitcom Saved by the Bell and its various iterations before his life and career took a turn for the worse, has died. He was 44.

 

Diamond died Monday, his rep, Roger Paul, told The Hollywood Reporter. The actor was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and was receiving treatments at an undisclosed Florida hospital in mid-January.

 

When he was 11 and in the fifth grade, Diamond beat out 5,000 other hopefuls in 1988 to land the role of Samuel “Screech” Powers on the Disney Channel comedy Good Morning, Miss Bliss, the forerunner to Saved by the Bell.

 

Viewers watched Diamond grow up before their eyes as he continued as the chess-loving Screech on Saved by the Bell, which lasted four seasons (1989-93), Saved by the Bell: The College Years (one primetime season, 1993-94) and Saved by the Bell: The New Class (seven seasons, 1994-2000), all on NBC. When the last episode aired, Diamond was 23.

 

In the ensuing years, Diamond began a new career as a stand-up comic (he said he had been favorably compared to George Carlin); beat up a much older Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack of Welcome Back, Kotter) on Celebrity Boxing 2; shed some pounds on Celebrity Fit Club; entered the ring with Dennis Rodman and Frank Stallone on Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling; and appeared on World’s Dumbest and Celebrity Big Brother.

 

A series of hard times followed for Diamond in real life. In 2015, Diamond was convicted of disorderly conduct after he stabbed another bar patron in the armpit with a switchblade on Christmas Day 2014 in an incident involving his then-fiancee. He served three months in jail before being released in April 2016.

 

When the Peacock streaming service unveiled a follow-up Saved by the Bell series in November, original stars including Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen were back, but Diamond was not. Screech, it was explained, was living on the International Space Station with Kevin, the robot pal that he built.

 

 
Bleeding Fool Media offers its sincere condolences to Mr. Diamond’s family, loved ones, friends and fans.

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