Mario Lopez and Dustin Diamond first met on the set of Saturday morning sitcom “Saved by the Bell” within the late Nineteen Eighties and labored collectively for 4 years on that present, plus one other on the “Faculty Years” spinoff. Lopez was a cool jock named A.C. Slater, whereas Diamond performed the varsity geek, Samuel “Screech” Powers,” however the characters have been a part of the identical buddy group and off-screen, Lopez tells Selection, Diamond “was like a enjoyable, goofy little brother.
Information of Diamond’s loss of life from most cancers on Feb. 1 got here as an enormous shock to Lopez, although he knew his buddy and former co-star was sick. (Though Diamond went on to star in “Saved by the Bell’s” different spinoff, “The New Class,” for six years whereas Lopez expanded his profession into different appearing, internet hosting and producing different properties, the 2 stayed in touch via the years, Lopez says.)
“I really simply spoke with him a few weeks in the past. He was reluctant to go in [to the hospital] for some time as a result of he didn’t know if something was going to get out. And I mentioned, ‘Bro, that’s silly, you’ve bought to get in there and maintain your self and overlook what individuals are saying.’ Some individuals thought his sickness was a joke, which is terrible, however the web all the time spills tales. When all of this was taking place, I used to be optimistic that he would make a restoration, however it was clearly too late,” Lopez says.
“From after I came upon he was sick to his passing, it’s been extremely fast. It’s so recent, it’s extremely onerous to course of. And it’s stunning as a result of he was so younger; he was solely 44. I truthfully thought, ‘There’s no means [he won’t make it]. It sucks, however he’ll bounce again.’”
Diamond was a number of years youthful than the remainder of the core solid of Bayside Excessive college students (Lopez himself was born in 1973, whereas Diamond was born in 1977), and reflecting on his time working with Diamond as a youngster, Lopez remembers the actor and comic as “a goofy child.”
“We shot lots in the summertime time, so it was quite a lot of juvenile, foolish, enjoyable antics stuff that we’d get into. I assumed he was a humorous child. I preferred to have enjoyable and he was like my side-kick; However Lopez additionally remembers Diamond’s comedy chops being the actual deal, even at such a younger age. “He was iconic,” Lopez says. “Basically, his little seems to be and facial expressions and voice and the way in which it cracked, it was simply the quintessential goofy, lovable enjoyable nerd [character] and it actually resonated with the children. And that was all him; he was sort of like Screech in actual life.”
About “Saved by the Bell” as a complete, Lopez provides, “He was an integral a part of the chemistry and the comedy, and I don’t know if it might have labored with out him.”
Lopez lately starred in and served as a producer on the primary season of Peacock’s continuation of “Saved by the Bell.” Though Diamond didn’t reprise his position as a visitor star, his character was referenced.
“We have been actually hoping he’d make an look on Season 2,” Lopez says. “Now I’m actually going to push for some form of tribute. I might love a complete episode devoted to a few of his most iconic moments or one thing like that. We now have quite a lot of very artistic minds who can attempt to determine it out, however I haven’t had these conversations but.”
“I’ve reached out to his household, and I’m at peace figuring out that I used to be all the time there for him, I stored in touch with him. He’ll proceed to be in my prayers, alongside along with his household, however he is aware of he had a buddy in me,” Lopez provides.