Former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Tori Spelling is among the Hollywood stars mourning the death of Dustin Diamond on Monday. Early in her career, Spelling had a recurring part on Saved by the Bell, and she shared her first on-screen kiss with Diamond during her stint on the show. Spelling remembered Diamond, who died at 44 following a battle with cancer, as "kind, smart, and always making everyone laugh."
Spelling shared a black and white photo from her time on Saved by the Bell, referring to Diamond as her first onscreen love. "Before there was David and Donna there was Screech and Violet," Spelling wrote, referring to characters from 90210. "Dustin was my first on-screen kiss. He welcomed me with open arms onto the set of Saved By the Bell. As one can imagine being the newbie on a hit show was overwhelming for a 14-year-old girl."
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Spelling continued," He not only showed me around but made sure I was always ok. Such a young gentleman. He was kind, smart, and always making everyone laugh. He was a great scene partner. He was a really good guy. I'm sad after the show we never had much contact aside from occasionally running into each other at events. I'm glad he's out of pain. He's an icon to me professionally and personally. RIP Samuel love, your Violet."
Spelling's career as a child actress began in the early 1980s. When she starred on Saved by the Bell, she was still only getting small parts. She played Violet Bickerstaff in two episodes of Saved by the Bell Season 2 and one episode in Season 3. Violet dated Screech, but the relationship was rocky because he could not win approval from her parents. Diamond went on to play Screech in almost every iteration of Saved by the Bell, although he was not asked back for the recent Peacock reboot. As for Spelling, she did not have to wait long for her own taste of television immortality, as she was cast as Donna on 90210 in 1990.
Diamond died Monday, just weeks after he announced he was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma. It started in another part of his body and metastasized in his lungs. His representative said his health rapidly declined in the past week and he was recently taken off breathing machines to be moved to hospice care. "Dustin did not suffer. He did not have to lie submerged in pain. For that, we are grateful," his representative said.
Many of Diamond's Saved by the Bell co-stars have paid tribute to their colleague and friend. "Dustin, you will be missed my man," Mario Lopez tweeted, alongside a photo of himself with Diamond. "The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on." Mark-Paul Gosselaar called Diamond a "true comedic genius" and sent his condolences to Diamond's family.