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Dustin Diamond (1977–2021), starred as Screech in “Saved by the Bell”

by Linnea Crowther

Dustin Diamond was an actor best known for starring as Samuel “Screech” Powers in “Saved by the Bell” and its spin-offs.

Saved by the Bell

Diamond joined the “Saved by the Bell” cast in its earliest days in 1988, when the show was still called “Good Morning Miss Bliss” and revolved around a junior high school teacher. When, after a year, the show was retooled into “Saved by the Bell,” Diamond remained with it, playing the school nerd who was friends with his popular classmates at Bayside High. After “Saved by the Bell” ended in 1993, Diamond jumped to its one-season spin-off, “Saved by the Bell: The College Years,” attending the fictitious California University with his high school classmates. And when the franchise returned to Bayside for “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” Diamond joined the cast in season two, playing Principal Belding’s assistant. Screech was one of only two characters to remain a regular from the franchise’s beginning in 1988 through its end in 2000.

Other work

Though Diamond’s career largely revolved around “Saved by the Bell,” he also made other appearances. He had guest roles on TV shows including “The Wonder Years,” “The Munsters Today,” and “Duck Dodgers.” His movie credits include “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” and “Made.” Diamond also appeared on several reality TV shows, joining the casts of “Celebrity Fit Club” in 2007 and “Celebrity Big Brother” in 2013. His 2009 book, “Behind the Bell,” was ghost-written, and it caused rifts between Diamond and other cast members as it included allegations about on-set behavior that they said were untrue. Diamond also played bass in the band Salty the Pocketknife, and he did stand-up comedy.

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Diamond on being typecast as Screech

“After I had come off the show, it was difficult to break the monumental size and magnitude of the Screech character. I prided myself on my work—I really enjoyed it, and there were no bad thoughts, but it was difficult as an actor when a role came across my desk that said, ‘We need someone with great comedic presence, timing, and great facial features that would lend themselves to comedy.’ And they were describing me! I’d be into these roles, but I would get the feedback, ‘Well, we love you, but we just saw too much Screech.’ And my only response would be, ‘Guys, I can’t change my bone structure! This is how I am. What else can I do?’” —from a 2012 interview with A.V. Club Milwaukee

Tributes to Dustin Diamond

Full obituary: CNN

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