Dustin Diamond, Saved by the Bell's Screech, Dead at 44

Dustin Diamond

Dustin Diamond, best known for playing Screech on NBC’s Saved by the Bell, has passed away following a battle with Stage 4 lung cancer. The actor was 44.

“We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, due to carcinoma,” Diamond’s talent agency of 21 years tells TVLine. “He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago. In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system; the only mercy it exhibited was its sharp and swift execution. Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful.”

On Jan. 15, Diamond was first admitted to a Florida hospital to determine the type and severity of the cancer. At the time, his rep revealed that Diamond had received a stage four cancer diagnosis, all of which began with a lump in his throat.

Diamond was best known for portraying Samuel “Screech” Powers in five seasons of Saved by the Bell, plus its two movies and predecessor Good Morning, Miss Bliss. From 1993-1994, he reprised the character for the series’ one-and-done College Years season, and returned to the role once again for another six seasons in Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

In 2009, the actor wrote “Behind the Bell,” a tell-all book that stirred up controversy with backstage tales from his days on set.

Saved by the Bell was recently revived (and renewed) by Peacock, albeit, without Diamond. Bell 2.0 explained Screech’s absence by telling viewers he was living on the International Space Station with his robot Kevin.

The star told TMZ in February of 2020 that no one had reached out to him about a role in the follow-up. “Out of all the cast members, I was in… the most [episodes], and that’s not the case anymore if I’m not in the new one,” Diamond said. “And how do you have Saved by the Bell without Screech, right? … We should all be a part of this.”

In addition to his legacy on Bell, Diamond appeared on a number of reality shows including Celebrity Fit Club, Celebrity Boxing 2, Celebrity Championship Wrestling and the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother. In 2018, he appeared as Screech one final time in the web-series Zack Morris Is Trash.