Dustin Diamond of Saved By The Bell Fame Is Dead At 44

Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images.
Dustin Diamond, the actor best known as playing the quirky Screech on beloved '90s NBC sitcom Saved By The Bell, died on February 1. He was 44.
According to his representative, he died of lung cancer after receiving a stage 4 diagnosis three weeks ago. He had been receiving treatment for his carcinoma at a Florida hospital.
"In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution," they said in a statement. "Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful."
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Born on January 7, 1977 in San Jose, California, Diamond landed the part of Screech in 1988 when he was only 11. He went on to play the role for 12 years: first on Saved by the Bell's four seasons (1989-1993), then on Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993-1994), and finally Saved by the Bell: The New Class (1994-2000).
The actor's career post Saved By The Bell was colorful, to say the least. He had a stint as a stand-up comedian, beat people up on Celebrity Boxing and Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling, and also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.
In 2006, Diamond made a Screech-themed sex tape called Screeched — Saved by the Smell (later, he claimed that a "stunt person" was in the tape and his face was edited in), reportedly inspired by the money he had heard Paris Hilton made off of hers (though it should be noted that Hilton's was leaked without her consent). He apparently "got some money off of it, but it wasn't worth the fallout."
Nearly a decade later, in 2015, Diamond was convicted of disorderly conduct after stabbing someone in a bar in the armpit on Christmas Day a year earlier. The incident, reportedly involving his then-fiancée, caused him to serve three months in jail before being released in April 2016.
Back in November 2019, NBC's streaming service Peacock announced a Saved by the Bell reboot that didn't include Diamond. It did, however, include several original stars such as Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez ,and Tiffani Thiessen. The show came up with the explanation that Screech was living on the International Space Station with a robot he built called Kevin.
"We are aware that Dustin is not considered reputable by most. He's had a history of mishaps, of unfortunate events," Diamond's rep said. "We want the public to understand that he was not intentionally malevolent. He — much like the rest of those who act out and behave poorly — had undergone a great deal of turmoil and heartache. His actions, though rebukable, stemmed from loss and the lack of knowledge on how to process that pain properly. In actuality, Dustin was a humorous and high-spirited individual whose greatest passion was to make others laugh. He was able to sense and feel other peoples' emotions to such a length that he was able to feel them too — a strength and a flaw, all in one."

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