He may not have won any acting awards, but Dustin Diamond was lovable, and memorable, and those who worked with the actor who played Screech on Saved by the Bell are mourning his death after battling cancer.
Diamond was just 44 years old, and had recently begun chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma. The more common term for it was lung cancer. “In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution,” the actor’s agent, Roger Paul, said in a statement. “Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”
He was best known for his Screech character he played from 1989-1994, and then again in Saved by the Bell: the New Class from 1994-2000.
He infamously made headlines for allegedly directing his own sex tape in 2006, but he later admitted on the Oprah Winfrey show that it wasn’t him in the film, but he had hired a stunt double. “Looking back now in my 30s, I realize that was really dumb,” he told Oprah in 2013.“People to this day look down on me. There’s a lot of people [who think] ‘how disgusting of you’ — and I didn’t really do it.”
Diamond was arrested in 2014 and served three months in prison i for stabbing a man during a bar fight. In 2016, Diamond was arrested again for violating his probation.
Mario Lopez has known Diamond since they worked together starting in the late 80’s, and paid tribute to his friend Monday. “I actually just spoke with him a couple of weeks ago. He was reluctant to go in [to the hospital] for a while because he didn’t know if anything was going to get out. And I said, ‘Bro, that’s foolish, you’ve got to get in there and take care of yourself and forget what people are saying.’ Some people thought his illness was a joke, which is awful, but the internet always spills tales. When all of this was happening, I was optimistic that he would make a recovery, but it was obviously too late,” Lopez told Variety.