Dustin Neil Diamond, or maybe you know him more as “Screech” from the early ’90s sitcom Saved By the Bell, died from cancer at the age of 44 years old. The actor was diagnosed with stage 4 small-cell carcinoma, a type of lung cancer, just a couple of weeks before he passed away on February 1, 2021, according to an article by Johnny Lopez, a Senior Content Producer at Radio.com. Lopez interviewed Diamond’s girlfriend, Tash, who was by his side throughout his last days.
“Even though he was struggling to breathe and had difficulty speaking he was able to get out the words to me, ‘I love you,’” Tash shared. “ I told him I loved him back.”
We often forget these characters in our favorites show are people too! When they’re not in front of the camera, they go home to their everyday lives and problems that they have on their own. This same situation with Diamond reminds me of Chadwick Boseman’s death in August of 2020.
You may know Boseman for his films such as Black Panther (2018), 42 (2013), and Get on Up (2014). Boseman also passed away from cancer, specifically colon cancer, and it was so extremely surprising because Boseman was expected to star in the upcoming Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with co-star Viola Davis. These actors untimely deaths impacted people from all over the world whose shows or films have touched a lot of hearts.
On November 25th, 2020, Tracey Wigfield, a comedy writer who wrote and produced Great News on NBC with co-producer Tina Fey, premiered the first trailer of the Saved by the Bell Reboot. After watching this trailer, it brought back the nostalgia of the classic teen-comedy sitcom theme. The reboot of the show has all of the actors from the original show; Elizabeth Berkley who plays Jessica, Mario Lopez who plays Slater, Mark-Paul Gosselaar who plays Zach, Lark Voorhies who played Lisa (appears as a guest on the show), and Tiffani Thiessen who played Kelly. The new cast members include teen-star Dexter Darden, who plays Devante a new student at Bayside, Josie Totah, who plays Lexi a transgender cheerleader, and Mitchell Hoog, who plays Zach’s son on the show. Interested in watching the reboot? You can stream the new Saved by the Bell only on PeacockTV.
Growing up, I remember my father being a huge fan of Saved by the Bell, and being the one who introduced me to the show. I recently conducted an interview with my father, asking him questions that I knew he would have insightful answers for.
Since my father was a big fan of the show, I asked him how he felt after hearing about Diamond’s death from cancer. To which he replied,
“It’s sad to see them gone… it’s like a realization that these characters are getting old just like us and having to face real problems in the world.”
When asked about when he first hear about Diamond’s illness or did it happen out of nowhere like Boseman, he said, “I remember finding out on YouTube that Screech had cancer, but they didn’t say what stage he was in.”
I told my father that there is a remake of Saved by the Bell, and asked him would he be open to watching the reboot? His response was simply, “No… My favorite characters were Lisa and Screech and they both didn’t come back, so the whole dynamic of the show just feels off to me.”
I understand his perspective. My father grew up in the late ’60s, and to him, this new change to the show would most likely just feel wrong! It would be similar to the late 90s/early 2000s kids watching Spongebob being played by another character; it’s just not the same. The legacy that Diamond has left behind will truly never be forgotten and his memories are going to forever be captured on screen.
Media by Justin Cross.