Dustin Diamond's Troubled Life after 'Saved by the Bell'

Aby Rivas
Mar 04, 2020
01:30 P.M.
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Dustin Diamond, better known for his role as Samuel “Screech” Powers in the ’90s sitcom “Saved by the Bell,” has faced some hardships in life after the successful show came to an end. From encounters with the law to bankruptcy and failed relationships, Diamond’s life has been a rollercoaster.


Back in the ’90s, Dustin Diamond gave life to Screech, the oddball/geek of a group of six high school friends on NBC’s popular sitcom “Saved By the Bell.”

Dustin Diamond as Screech Powers season 4 "Saved by the Bell" | Photo: GettyImages


Diamond’s character was the only one to appear throughout all of the series’ spin-offs, including the original show, “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” and the sequels “Saved by the Bell: The College Years;” and “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”

The series launched the careers of its six main actors—Diamond, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Lark Voorhies, Tiffani Thiessen, and Elizabeth Berkley—but after it came to an end in 1992, not everyone was able to move on with their careers and thrive in the entertainment industry.

Dustin Diamond attends the sold-out opening performance of "Bayside! The Musical!" at Theatre 80 St. Marks on September 11, 2014 | Photo: GettyImages



Diamond kept portraying Screech until 2000, and afterward went on to perform stand up comedy with an adult-only show that took him around the country.

In the book, Diamond painted his co-stars as teenagers with rabid hormones that couldn’t control themselves, who used drugs and steroids, and who had some serious attitude problems.

However, in 2001, Diamond filed for bankruptcy in California, claiming that his parents had used most of the money he earned as a teenager on “Saved by the Bell,” and left him hanging once he entered adult life.


Dustin Diamond, Tiffani Thiessen, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley, Lark Voorhies on Season 3 of "Saved by the Bell" | Photo: GettyImages

Diamond had to move from his Hollywood home to Wisconsin in what he called, six years later, a “shady real estate deal.”


At the time, the actor bought the house with a land contract in which the buyer agrees to make an initial payment to the landowner and then regular payments until the price is settled with no loans or mortgage involved.

Diamond allegedly kept up with the $2,400 monthly payments, but then in June 2007, he was told he had 30 days to pay $250,000. In a desperate attempt to save his house from foreclosure, Diamond turned to his fans.


He launched a website titled “Save Screech’s House” and sold $15 t-shirts that read, “I paid $15.00 to save Screeech’s house” in the back, as he explained in an interview with Howard Stern:

“I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to sell this shirt, and I’m going to tell the public where this money is going. If not just to save the house, I’ll use the money to fight this guy off in court because this is wrong.’”



In 2006, Diamond directed and released an adult content tape, hoping to earn some money from it.

He would later explain on an episode of Oprah’s “Where Are They Now?” that the idea came to him after a friend told him Paris Hilton had made $14 million from a similar tape. Still, according to Diamond, he hired a “stunt double” and its not him on the tape.

Three years later, after marrying his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Misner, Diamond landed a book deal to share behind the scenes stories from his days on “Saved by the Bell.”


Diamond wrote the book with the help of a ghostwriter, and when it was published, “Behind the Bell” caused quite the controversy not only among fans of the show but Diamond’s co-stars as well.

In the book, Diamond painted his co-stars as teenagers with rabid hormones that couldn’t control themselves, who used drugs and steroids, and who had some serious attitude problems.

Diamond’s co-stars slammed his claims as false. After the backlash, Diamond made it a point to mention that he was blindsided by the editorial team and the ghostwriter, who he blamed for making up most stories in the book after a few conversations with him.



In 2014, Diamond was arrested after a brawl at a bar in Port Washington, Wisconsin, where a man was stabbed in the arm.

Diamond was charged with disorderly conduct, second-degree reckless endangerment of safety, and carrying a concealed weapon after he admitted he wiped out a knife during a bar fight at the Grand Avenue Saloon.


According to what the actor said in court, he was trying to defend his fiancée, Amanda Schutz, who had been punched in the face by another man.

Dustin Diamond looks over at his attorneys during his trial in the Ozaukee County Courthouse May 29, 2015 in Port Washington, Wisconsin | Photo: GettyImages


Diamond was sentenced to four months in the Ozaukee County Jail and served only three before being released under probation for good behavior.

However, Diamond was back in jail one month later after violating the terms of his probation by taking painkillers. He was re-released two days later.


Diamond’s past claims and actions have created tension between him and his former co-stars, and in the rare occasions where they have reunited, like in “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, Diamond was left out.

Dustin Diamond and Mario Lopez visit "Extra" at Universal Studios Hollywood on May 16, 2016 in Universal City, California | Photo: GettyImages


In 2016, Diamond reunited with Mario Lopez in an interview for Extra where, among other things, he sent an apology to his cast members for every misunderstanding that his book might have caused.

Earlier this year, after NBC announced a reboot of “Saved by the Bell” with the return of some of his original cast members, Diamond said in an interview with TMZ that having the reboot without Screech was “a missed opportunity.”

“Bring Screech back, buddies — I’m ready!” Diamond joked, asking fans and fellow cast members to join his plea to be included in the show.

So far, only Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar have been confirmed to appear on the new series.