Dustin Diamond Cause of Death: Actor on ‘Saved by the Bell,’ Dies at 44

Child actor Dustin Diamond, who became famous on the long-running NBC Saturday morning sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” passed away on Monday in Florida. He was 44.

Mark Diamond, his father, and the only immediate survivor explained that small-cell carcinoma was the cause. Dustin Diamond was diagnosed with cancer in January, according to a statement released by his representatives.

Dustin Diamond Cause of Death

As “Saved by the Bell” gained a cult following among millennials and Generation X and became an internet obsession for some fans, Mr. Diamond played Samuel Powers, better known as Screech, throughout the show’s entire run, from 1989 to 1992.

The show chronicled the antics of a flamboyantly dressed group of mates attending the made-up Bayside High School in California.

In the show, Mr. Diamond played the role of Screech, a nerdy, sweet kid who was always the class dunce. An ongoing subplot involved his character’s unrequited crush on Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), a fellow student.

Screech was the comic foil to Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s Zack Morris, the school’s most popular student. Slater (Mario Lopez), Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley), and Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen) rounded out the group of friends featured in the show.

dustin diamond cause of death
dustin diamond cause of death

The principal, played by Dennis Haskins, was a stern but supportive figure for the students. All 86 episodes featured Mr. Diamond.

The fact that Ms. Berkley’s character was addicted to caffeine pills, a dance competition hosted by DJ Casey Kasem, and Screech making fake IDs for the guys so they could go to a club were also memorable plot points.

Dustin Neil Diamond was born on Jan. 7, 1977, in San Jose, California.  According to him, he got his start in acting when he was only eight years old. He also had guest-starring roles on shows like “The Wonder Years.”

Screech first appeared on “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” the Disney Channel series that served as an incubator for “Saved by the Bell” characters and premiered in 1988.

The prime-time spinoff ‘Saved by the Bell: The College Years’ followed the gang as they attended college and ran for one season before being canceled in 1994. He played Screech again in the “Saved by the Bell” spinoff “The New Class,” which ran from 1994 to 2000.

Mr. Diamond became well-known for his post-fame problems after he spoke frankly about his struggles to find work.

During an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” in 2013, Mr. Diamond said, “The hardest thing about being a child star is giving up your childhood.” He revealed that he was terrified of being replaced on “Saved by the Bell” while he was working there.

He later admitted, “I didn’t really know what I was going to do.  It was challenging to find work that wasn’t a clone of Screech’s.”

He added: “I had been working for the last 10 years, every single week, and I felt lost. As I mature I realize, wow, I was kind of going through my rebellious teens in my 20s.”

Mr. Diamond released a sex tape for financial gain in the mid-2000s, an action he has since expressed regret over.

He admitted on Ms. Winfrey’s show, “The sex tape is the thing that I’m most embarrassed about.” 

Reality shows like “Celebrity Boxing 2” (which aired on Fox in 2002) and “Celebrity Fit Club” (which aired on VH1 in 2007) also featured him.

He released a tell-all book in 2009 called “Behind the Bell,” in which he implied that cast members of the show had engaged in drug use and sexual misconduct. Eventually, Mr. Diamond also expressed regret over the book, claiming it was the work of a ghostwriter.

“The book was another disappointment of mine,” he said on the Winfrey show. “I was a first-time author, so they had a ghostwriter. I talked to a guy a few times, so the book has some truth in it, and a lot of the stories were just kind of throwaways.”

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