On Thursday night, shortly after Diamond’s team confirmed the news, Mario Lopez — who played Slater to Diamond’s Screech on the original sitcom — said he “connected with Dustin earlier this evening and although the news of his diagnosis is heartbreaking, we remain positive that he’ll overcome this. Praying for him & his family and for a speedy recovery. God Bless.”
Tiffani Thiessen, Kelly on the show, posted that she was “thinking of” Diamond with a photo of him smiling.
Diamond had been hospitalized and was undergoing tests before his team announced his diagnosis. Though he’s still awaiting testing, a rep said it’s stage four, meaning it has spread (metastasized) and is in different parts of his body. He’s undergoing chemo and will likely remain in the hospital “for a while.”
The rep added that Diamond first noticed “a huge lump on his throat.”
Diamond’s relationship with his former co-stars has been complicated. Most recently, he was snubbed from the Peacock network reboot that reunited the cast. He publicly voiced his displeasure, telling TMZ last year. “You need to have all the cast members.”
However, Diamond’s made different career moves than the rest of the original Bayside High gang. It included releasing a sex tape in 2006 entitled Screeched, which he said he did for the cash after having financial issues. He also infamously wrote an unflattering book, 2009’s Behind the Bell, about his time on the ‘90s series that didn’t paint everyone in the best light. That book was then turned into a Lifetime movie for which Diamond served as an executive producer. In 2016, he publicly apologized to his former co-stars for his destructive behavior.
Diamond also served three months in prison in 2016 related to a bar stabbing in Wisconsin. Once released, he violated his probation, leading to another arrest. That year, he reconnected with Lopez, who interviewed by him on Extra about the arrests.
The original Saved by the Bell was must-see TV from 1989 to 1993, and Diamond played the geek to Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s handsome Zack and Lopez’s brawny Slater. The series spawned two spinoffs, Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Saved by the Bell: The New Class, as well as two TV movies.
The reboot premiered on Nov. 25 on the NBC streaming service. It features a new cast with old faves Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, who plays Jessie. Gosselaar (who said in 2019 that he hadn’t spoken Diamond since 1994) and Thiessen recurred in Season 1 and Lark Voorhies, Lisa, made a guest appearance.
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