Dustin Diamond has passed away at the age of 44 after being diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma, most commonly referred to as lung cancer. It was only a few weeks ago that the actor’s diagnosis was made public and now he has died. According to reports, he had just finished his first round of chemotherapy. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he was taken off his breathing machines in order to transfer him to hospice care. Sadly, it seems that he was already beyond help.
Dustin Diamond rose to prominence in pop culture after playing the nerdy character of Samuel “Screech” Powers on the sitcom Saved by the Bell. He was on the show for four seasons and also appeared in the spinoffs Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Saved by the Bell: The New Class. However, he was left out of the recent reboot of the show that premiered on the streaming service Peacock last year. When asked why, it seems like there was no clear reason why the show decided to omit him from the revival.
Unfortunately, Dustin Diamond was never able to quite obtain the same level of celebrity he found during his tenure on Saved by the Bell. He would end up becoming a regular fixture on a number of reality shows such as Celebrity Boxing 2 and Celebrity Fit Club. He also managed to garner a reputation for being combative with some of his fellow castmates. But, it should be said that he maintained a strong fanbase over the years regardless of his perceived persona on such programs.
Probably one of the more bizarre elements of Dustin Diamond’s career was when he reportedly released his own sex tape that he directed. It was something of a minor scandal at the time until the actor revealed to none other than Oprah Winfrey that it was a stunt and the person in the tape was not even Dustin. Instead, it was a double that just looked like him.
It seems that Dustin Diamond fell into some of the pitfalls that often come with being in the world of child actors. He seemed to peak early in his career and ended up in headlines for some unfortunate behavior. Still, it is clear that he had love and support from fans all the way up to his passing. The outpouring on social media has been exceptionally positive and it does not show any signs of stopping.
There is no question that Dustin Diamond will always occupy a particular part of pop culture history. For a certain generation, the character of Screech was a highlight for many teenage nerds. He was a character that many felt they could relate to and that will always be meaningful to those who grew up with the character. If you cared for the character of Screech at all, you can revisit his iconic performance in Saved by the Bell by streaming the show on Hulu. Here’s hoping the reboot on Peacock gives the actor some kind of memorial acknowledgment in the future.