Dustin Diamond, the actor known for his role as Screech in the hit sitcom Saved by the Bell, died Monday, from cancer. According to a statement from his manager Roger Paul, "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." He was 44 years old.
As Samuel "Screech" Powers, Diamond played the goofy, nerdy sidekick on Saved by the Bell. He was a foil to the troublemaking charm of Zack Morris (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar), and an annoyance to the rich and snobby Lisa Turtle (played by Lark Voorhies). Though Diamond had been attached to the show since its precursor, Good Morning, Miss Bliss, through to its spinoff Saved the Be Bell: The New Class, he did not appear in the current iteration of the show that's streaming on Peacock.
After Saved by the Bell, Diamond distanced himself from the character. In 2006 he directed himself in and released a sex tape called "Screeched," which he later told the Oprah Winfrey Network was faked using a stunt person.
"People, to this day, look down on me," he said. "And I didn't really do it."