Actor Dustin Diamond, best-known for his role as Screech on the hit late 1980s TV sitcom “Saved By the Bell,” has died. He was 44.
Diamond died Monday after a three-week fight with carcinoma, according to his representative. He was 44.
“Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful,” the actor’s spokesman, Roger Paul, said in a statement.
After the success of the series, Diamond would reprise his role in spinoffs including “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.” He published his controversial tell-all, behind-the-scenes memoir “Behind the Bell” in 2009.
“Saved by the Bell” aired from 1989 to 1993 and was spun off from a prequel, “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” which Diamond also starred in. He also reprised his role in two TV movies, “Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style” and “Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.” A sequel was launched on Peacock last fall featuring many from the original cast, including Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Diamond was not included.
He starred in a handful of reality television series including the fifth season of “Celebrity Fit Club,” “The Weakest Link” and “Celebrity Boxing 2.” In December 2013, Diamond appeared on an episode of OWN’s “Where Are They Now?” and became a house member in the 12th season of “Celebrity Big Brother.”
Diamond was sued several times for delinquent taxes and in foreclosure proceedings for missing mortgage payments. He also made a sex tape and produced a tell-all documentary on Lifetime TV called “The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story.” In 2015, he was sentenced to serve four months in jail for his part in a Wisconsin barroom stabbing.
“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,” wrote Paul.
In mid-January, Diamond’s Facebook page confirmed the cancer diagnosis after the actor was hospitalized for testing.