NBC recently announced that a Saved by the Bell reboot was coming this fall with several of the original cast reprising their roles including Mario Lopez as A.C. Slater and Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie Spano. There are even talks that the king of Bayside High, Zack Morris, played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, will make a return to the beloved series reboot.
With all this talk of old cast members, it makes one wonder what happened to the rest of the cast when the show went off the air almost 30 years ago. The characters may have graduated and moved on to college and beyond, but what happened to the real-life actors when Saved By The Bell went off the air? What happened to one of the most interesting and bizarre characters on the show, Samuel “Screech” Powers played by Dustin Diamond?
Who played Screech on ‘Saved by the Bell’?
Screech Powers was played by California native, Dustin Diamond. Dustin was cast in the role of Screech at the age of 11 and played the role for all six seasons of Saved by the Bell as well as the spinoff, Saved by the Bell: The College Years. Unfortunately, The College Years was canceled after one season. Diamond returned to Bayside High as Principal Belding's assistant in The New Class episodes, remaining with the show until its cancellation after five seasons.
With all of the Saved by the Bell episodes and series combined, Diamond played the role of Screech for 13 years. Playing such a niche role like that for over a decade could really take a toll on an actor, and in Diamond's case, it did just that.
After 'Saved by the Bell' ended, Dustin tried to continue working on TV.
Once Saved by the Bell finally ran its course, Diamond’s acting career seemed to fall flat. Most likely due to having no luck in the industry without being typecast. He managed to appear in productions like Longshot, Jane White Is Sick & Twisted, and Big Fat Liar. He also ended up using his notoriety and fame as such a famous character as a springboard to appearances as himself on shows such as The Weakest Link, Celebrity Boxing 2, Hollywood Squares, and Celebrity Big Brother.
In 2006, Diamond released his sex tape, Screeched: Saved by the Smell, which he also directed. In the film, he’s seen having sex on camera with two women. The video obviously did not bring the positive press Diamond was after and created a lot of buzz around Diamond’s fall from fame and all-around creepy demeanor. Years later, he claimed he wasn't even the one in the sex scenes — as Diamond told Oprah Winfrey on her Where Are They Now? episode, he used a "stunt double.”
After many failed attempts to regain fame, Diamond turned to crime.
In December of 2014, Diamond was arrested in Wisconsin for possession of a switchblade knife, which he was alleged to have pulled on a man during a bar altercation. In May 2015, Diamond was convicted on two misdemeanors: carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct. In June 2015, the actor was sentenced to four months in prison. He was released on parole after serving four months but was once again arrested when he violated his parole terms.
He seems to have cleaned up his record a bit since those incidents and was last seen appearing as himself in the web series, Zack Morris Is Trash, in which a narrator summarizes the various antics of Saved by the Bell protagonist, Zack Morris, and how they make him one of the most ruthlessly unlikeable characters in sitcom history. Looks like we’ve come full circle!