In 1990, Spelling recurred on Bell as Screech’s girlfriend, Violet Bickerstaff. On Monday, the Beverly Hills, 90210 vet took to Instagram to pay her respects.
“My first onscreen love Dustin Diamond got his Angel wings today,” she said. “Before there was David and Donna, there was Screech and Violet. Dustin was my first on-screen kiss. He welcomed me with open arms onto the set of Saved by the Bell. As one can imagine, being the newbie on a hit show was overwhelming for a 14-year-old girl. He not only showed me around but made sure I was always ok. Such a young gentleman. He was kind, smart, and always making everyone laugh. He was a great scene partner. He was a really good guy.”
Spelling went on to express regret that she lost touch with Diamond after she departed Bayside for West Beverly High. “I’m sad after the show we never had much contact, aside from occasionally running into each other at events,” she wrote, but “I’m glad he’s out of pain. He’s an icon to me professionally and personally. RIP Samuel, love your Violet ❤️”
Diamond died after a short battle with Stage 4 lung cancer. All told, he appeared in 248 episodes of the SBTB franchise, having originated the Screech character in the short-lived Disney Channel series Good Morning, Miss Bliss. As one of only four cast members to make the leap to NBC’s Saved by the Bell, he continued to portray Screech in the spinoffs The College Years and The New Class. He also appeared in both made-for-TV movies, Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style and Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.
In addition to Spelling, SBTB classmates Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen have paid tribute to Diamond, which you can read here.