We’ve received some sad news today, as Dustin Diamond, most known for his breakout turn as Screech in iconic sitcom Saved by the Bell, has died at the age of 44.
Diamond was rushed to the hospital after suffering from debilitating pain only a few weeks ago, and it’s now been confirmed by his representatives that the actor has passed away from stage 4 lung cancer. Given the short period of his illness, fans are shocked and saddened by the tragic news, with social media full of those who grew up watching Diamond on the classic NBC series paying tribute to him.
Saved by the Bell might’ve been an ensemble show, but it was Samuel “Screech” Powers who often stole the spotlight, thanks to his larger-than-life personality and Diamond’s physical comedy chops. And as the following tributes make clear, the actor was a lot of people’s favorite of the cast when they were kids.
Saved By The Bell was literally my childhood 😭 Had the biggest crush ever on Zac Morris but Screech had me laughing in every episode, my favourite was when he dressed as Barbara Bush 😭 RIP Dustin Diamond #dustindiamond pic.twitter.com/jDZ4ek8We7
— Chelsea 👑 (@x3ChelseaLouise) February 1, 2021
Saved by the Bell was probably the most defining programme of the early years of my life. Screech was a huge part of that.
RIP Dustin Diamond.
— Paul G (@LPP2014) February 1, 2021
Saved By The Bell was a big part of a lot of our lives back in the day Bayside High , Dustin Diamond as Screech is a Kid Icon. RIP Legend🕯️ https://t.co/Nr7IjZx8kB
— Lucky Cedarlane (@LuckyCedarlane) February 1, 2021
Terrible to hear about the passing of Dustin Diamond. I was a huge Saved By The Bell fan and he was goofy and cute. His love for Lisa was adorable. Very sad. 💔 RIP
— *Baseball Chickie!* (@baseballchickie) February 1, 2021
Rest in peace, #DustinDiamond
I think we will remember him by watching the episode where Screech gets hit by lightning and can tell the future. pic.twitter.com/y8JeIkbKPl
— Liz Needham Brunetti (@GoVolsBlondie) February 1, 2021
Last year, Peacock debuted a Saved by the Bell revival, featuring four members of the original cast: Mario Lopez (Slater), Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie), Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack) and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Kelly). And with the franchise in rude health, Diamond will remain a “TV icon” for years to come, as actor Eric West pointed out.
Everyone my age grew up watching Dustin Diamond in 'Saved by the Bell’. Screech was hilarious! I’m sorry to hear about his passing today. Dustin will always be a TV icon because ‘Saved by the Bell’ will live on and on. Rest well. pic.twitter.com/CXUxgQaOUZ
— Eric West (@EricXWest) February 1, 2021
Prior to the 2020 reboot, Diamond had been a fixture across all forms of the franchise – the initial short-lived Good Morning, Miss Bliss (1988-1989), Saved by the Bell (1989-1993), SBTB: The College Years (1993-1994) and SBTB: The New Class (1993-2000). There was hope he could return for the new series in season 2 as well before this tragic news.
I was hoping that with Saved by the Bell being revived just last year, Dustin Diamond would get to come back as Screech and get something of a second chance. Professionally and personally. Very sad to hear this. He was always a joy to watch in that role, across four shows. https://t.co/PEmuxObhTD
— John Squires (@FreddyInSpace) February 1, 2021
Let’s hope the producers do the right thing and honor him in some way in the next season instead.
— Papa Moose (@Curtomac) February 1, 2021
Thank you for making geeks cool, sir.
— Kenner & Toy Junk (@KennerToys) February 1, 2021
Post-Screech, Diamond was known for his stand-up comedy performances, as well as various appearances on TV on reality and game shows and cameos in a host of movies. From 2009-2013, he was married to former Big Brother contestant Jennifer Misner. If you’re looking to remember his work in his most famous role, Saved by the Bell is currently available to stream on Peacock.
Rest in peace, Dustin Diamond. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this tough time.