Mark-Paul Gosselaar has come a long way as an actor since his breakout role on the NBC Saturday Morning series saved by the bell as alpha prankster and main character Zack Morris to find his way back to the Peacock reboot series ushering in a new generation in a more supporting role. Such an actor with Lark Voorhies was also there with him from the very beginning since the first season when the series was then known as Hello, Miss Bliss on Disney Channel was the end Diamond Dustin, who played his best friend and loveable nerd Samuel “Screech” Powers. On Michael Rosenbaumthe podcast of inside of youthe host asked Gosselaar if he had any memories he could share about their original NBC run with Diamond.
“We were close when we were doing the show, and then we all went our own way,” Gosselaar said. “There were many years when we weren’t in each other’s lives, but I just remember laughing a lot with Dustin. He was the most awkward motherfucker you could ever end up with. in the same room. He made those choices that only he could make on the screen. He was really good. He was a very talented actor at a very young age, but we had a lot of great times. I just remember lots of laughs with him and playing video games. I remember playing a lot of video games with the guy too. His dad used to sit in his room and he had a Neo Geo back when it was the first gaming platform and he was the coolest kid.
Diamond was not invited back in the first season when the Peacock iteration of saved by the bell focused on young talent with leftovers Elizabeth BerkeleyLauren and Mario Lopez reprising their roles as Jessie Spano and AC Slater, now working at their alma mater. Voorhies and Tiffani Thiessen returned in guest appearances reprising their roles as Lisa Turtle and Kelly Kapowski-Morris, respectively with Gosselaar reprising his role as Zack, now Governor of California. With the original student cast also in producer roles for the Peacock reboot of SBTB, the plans were to include Diamond in the new series and the executive producers revealed that they were keeping him creatively informed before his tragic death at the age of 44 in 2021 from cancer changed them. The only mention of Screech in the first season was that he was an astronaut on the International Space Station. The season two premiere “The Last Year Dance” featured the five surviving cast members in a burger tribute at their favorite Bayside hangout “The Max” during the episode’s final scene before we we only get a montage of Diamond’s run on the original series.
“I was totally shocked because the year before I saw him at Comic-Con and we were side by side and he never said a word about his health,” Gosselaar recalled. “Then to find out that he died so quickly without any of us really knowing what was going on, it was shocking and really sad that he didn’t connect with us a bit more before his passing. I don’t think it was his fault I guess he thought maybe things were going to get better it was shocking and it was very sad and I mean jesus christ he only had About 42 years old?