TV star Dustin Diamond, known for playing Screech on the series Saved by the Bell, has died at the age of 44 due to throat cancer, as confirmed by his representative to several specialized American media on Monday. The actor was being treated for his illness at a Florida clinic, where he entered earlier this month of January. The news has shaken the world of entertainment and the protagonists of the successful youth fiction of the nineties have wanted to say goodbye to their partner by paying a small tribute through their social networks.
“Dustin, I’ll miss you, my man. The fragility of this life is something that should never be taken for granted. The prayers for your family will continue… ”, wrote Mario López, of the actors who continued to maintain a great friendship with Diamond, along with several photographs of both. The rest of his classmates like Tiffani Thiessen, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Lark Voorhies and Elizabeth Berkley have also spoken. The latter, known for playing Jessie Spano in the series, dedicated a few words to her partner on his instagram: “I am grateful to have been able to work with Dustin when our dreams were beginning to come true. I will hold on to those sweet memories and the laughs we share. He was a truly gifted man. Rest in peace”.
Diamond rose to fame at age 11 with the role of Screech on the Disney Channel series Good Morning Miss Bliss, which preceded Saved by the Bell, the popular series from the 1990s that narrated the adventures of six young students from Bayside High School on NBC and that was broadcast in Spain on Antena 3. He continued with the role in Saved by the Bell: College Years (1993-94), the movie Saved by the Bell: Las Vegas Wedding (1994) and Saved by the Bell: The Next Generation (1994-2000), where his character returned to the center where he studied as part of his university training and would end up becoming an assistant director. He ended his career with this character at 23 years old, and it was surprising that in the remake that is being prepared on the fiction in the digital platform Peackock (of the NBC) Diamond will not participate. It was announced that almost all of its stars would return, but it was anticipated that the character of Screech would not be there. The reason invented by the scriptwriters to get him out of the equation is that Screech is living on the International Space Station, but some specialized media point to the controversy that has surrounded the actor in recent years.
After the success of the series, his work as a performer went unnoticed and his book Behind the bell (Behind the Bell), a controversial autobiography revealing the dirty laundry of fiction, led to criticism from the public and fellow cast members. In the 311 pages of the publication he charged and lashed out at all his colleagues, especially Mark Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, Screech’s soulmate. “Gosselaar was a talented blanket and a consumer of anabolics who enjoyed privileges,” the comedian launched in one of his statements.
In 2006 he was involved in a controversy for recording a homemade porn movie of which he later regretted. “It’s my face, but nothing else,” she admitted on the Oprah Winfrey show. “I have realized that I was really stupid,” he added after finding himself in the center of all the criticism. If the sex video did not help to relaunch his career, neither did his most supportive side, when during an appearance in The Howard Stern Show that same year he implored the public to buy him T-shirts for $ 15 each. The garments showed Diamond standing in front of a dilapidated house and the proceeds were supposed to help cover the $ 250,000 it cost to restore it, something that was never known again.
Years later, Diamond continued to live as another broken doll from the Disney factory. In an interview in 2013, he regretted losing his youth to these series. He never recovered from the fame he gained and his career did not go back, dedicating himself to comedy performances, boxing fights and wrestling between celebrities and participating in an edition of Big Brother for celebrities. He also tried his luck as chess master via YouTube tutorials, but without much success. Your character in Saved by the Bell He was a great admirer of the board game, something in which he agreed in real life with Diamond: the actor supposedly had a library of 3,000 chess books and owned more than 100 chess sets. “It is so entertaining that it destroys the notion that chess is a boring game,” he said in his YouTube videos.
His problems with the law did not help put his professional career or his social situation on track. He was arrested several times for stabbing and drug possession. In 2015 he was sentenced to four months in prison after being involved in a bar fight in which he ended up stabbing a man, and a year later he was arrested again on charges of breaking the rules of his parole.
However, the actor seemed to reconsider his years adrift and wanted to apologize to his co-stars for everything that happened. In 2016, Diamond attended the program The Dr. Oz Show and he claimed to be sorry for his actions. “This is the best way to repair the damage I did to my teammates. It was fantastic working with you, one of the best moments of my life. I am sure that we will be able to talk about it in the future ”, said the interpreter before the cameras. Something that should have worked after the sincere tributes that his colleagues in fiction have paid him after his precipitous death this Monday from throat cancer.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.