Dustin ‘Screech’ Diamond, ‘Saved by the Bell’ Jewish actor, dies at 44

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Diamond, who was Jewish, grew up in California and got his first official acting credits for small roles in the TV movie “Yogi’s Great Escape” and an episode of “It’s a Living” in 1987.

Actor Dustin Diamond is seen in an undated booking photo released by the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office, in Port Washington, Wisconsin (photo credit: REUTERS)

Actor Dustin Diamond is seen in an undated booking photo released by the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office, in Port Washington, Wisconsin

(photo credit: REUTERS)

LOS ANGELES – Dustin Diamond, known for playing Samuel “Screech” Powers in the hit sitcom “Saved by the Bell”, died on Monday morning following a hospitalization in January. He was 44.

Details of his hospitalization weren’t made available at the time, and doctors ran various tests and a biopsy on Diamond to determine the cause of his apparent body pain, according to earlier reports.

Diamond, who was Jewish, grew up in California and got his first official acting credits for small roles in the TV movie “Yogi’s Great Escape” and an episode of “It’s a Living” in 1987, but just one year later would the actor come into his breakout role. Cast in “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” the actor portrayed Screech for 13 episodes. The show would go on to be the basis for “Saved by the Bell,” which Diamond acted in until 1992.

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As his character aged out of high school, Diamond continued to reprise his role for the franchise in various spinoffs, including “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class,” the latter of which he starred in for about six years.

The star also appeared as himself in a variety of shows and films following his stint as Screech, among these being “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” and “Four Corners Road.” He also wrote a memoir about his time with the “Saved by the Bell” franchise. Titled “Behind the Bell,” the book recounts alleged controversies related to cast members, including Diamond himself.

Diamond was married to Jennifer Misner from 2009 until their separation in 2013.

Diamond appeared on “Celebrity Big Brother” in 2013 and performed in the now-disbanded music group, Salty The Pocketknife.

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