The entertainment world was faced with some very sad news yesterday, as Dustin Diamond, who was widely known for playing Samuel “Screech” Powers in the Saved by the Bell franchise, has passed away. It was recently reported that the actor had been hospitalized and later diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, and he sadly succumbed to his illness at the age of 44. Since Diamond’s passing, a number of actors have paid tribute to him and, now, his fellow Saved by the Bell alums like Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani Thiessen are honoring their late co-star.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar played Dustin Diamond’s scheming but caring on-screen best friend, Zack Morris, and the two would work closely together on three different incarnations of Saved by the Bell. In a Twitter post, Gosselaar called Diamond a “comedic genius” and saluted his former co-star:
Tiffani Thiessen, who portrayed everyone’s crush Kelly Kapowski, also took to social media to honor Dustin Diamond. The actress previously sent well wishes to Diamond when his diagnosis was made public, and she expressed sadness over the news of his passing:
Like Thiessen, Saved by the Bell star Mario Lopez also sent love to Diamond while he was in the hospital. Upon hearing of Diamond’s death, Lopez took to Instagram to share a tribute:
Elizabeth Berkley, who stars alongside Lopez in the recent SBTB reboot, sent her condolences as well. In an Instagram post, she expressed gratitude in having been able to work with Dustin Diamond and posted a few photos of the late actor in his famous role:
Many Saved by the Bell fans undoubtedly know that over the course of the show, Screech sought after the affections of Lark Voorhies’ popular and trendy Lisa Turtle. While Lisa would get annoyed by Screech’s efforts, the relationship between Diamond and Voorhies was different. In a statement to EW, the actress reflected on Diamond fondly and sent her condolences to his family:
Words cannot express the grief that I am feeling right now. Dustin and I had a warm and special friendship, he was a caring gentleman, and my memories of him will always be cherished. I am so very sorry he is gone. But it's exceptionally sad for his close loved ones who have do deal with his tragic death and their own great loss. My heart goes out to them at this trying time.
Although Screech could never woo Lisa, Dustin Diamond’s character did find another love on the show in the form of Tori Spelling’s Violet. After learning of Diamond’s passing, Spelling posted a lengthy Instagram message in which she beautifully paid tribute to “1st onscreen love”:
Ed Alonzo, who portrayed The Max’s magician owner Max, also paid tribute to Diamond on social media. In his post, he included a vintage image of him and a young Diamond on the show:
It’s been truly nice to see the love that’s been shown to Dustin Diamond and his loved ones during this time. While Diamond and his castmates weren’t always on the best of terms in the years after the show ended, they still appear to have plenty of love for him and each other. Any Saved by the Bell fan would tell you it looks like the cast members truly are “friends forever.”
We here at CinemaBlend extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of Dustin Diamond during this difficult time.