Former “Dancing with the Stars” contestants Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley joined their “Saved by the Bell” co-star Mark-Paul Gosselaar for a panel at 90s Con on March 18 in Connecticut. The trio recalled special memories they maintained from their time working together many years ago, and at one point, former co-star Dustin Diamond was referenced. As TMZ detailed, the actor, who played Samuel “Screech” Powers, died on February 1, 2021, shortly after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. While it has been quite a few years since the original “Saved by the Bell” cast worked together, during the panel, it was clear they still cherished many memories they made together way back when.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar Recalled First Meeting Dustin Diamond
Heavy Entertainment Editor Lauren Weigle attended the 90s Con event and shared an especially touching moment from the “Saved by the Bell” panel. At one point, Gosselaar shared the story of the time he first met Diamond. The two actors were in the audition room as production was searching for just the right people to fill each of the roles. Gosselaar recalled, “I remember, like, meeting him, and going, that guy is absolutely that character.”
Gosselaar explained, “Cause you go into these jobs and you don’t know if you’re going to get the job, right? So, you go in, it’s a job interview.” Although Diamond did not know yet whether he would be cast on the show or not, Gosselaar apparently had no doubt. “I was certain — that guy’s got the job.” As Gosselaar wrapped up his story, both Berkley and Lopez added, “rest in peace.”
The “Saved by the Bell” panel included quite a few additional fun tidbits from the former cast members. Lopez recalled first meeting Berkley and he also shared a story regarding whether or not a mullet would be deemed an appropriate hairstyle for the character on the show.
Gosselaar Raved About Diamond’s Talent Other Times As Well
Gosselaar, Berkley, and Lopez continued to share fun memories of their time doing “Saved by the Bell,” and they seemed to have fond memories of the experience even after all these years. As IMDb detailed, the series debuted in 1989 and ended in 1992 after 86 episodes. The show sparked a couple of television movies, as well as the series “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” and a more recent reboot in 2020 of 21 episodes. During the recent revival of the series, Gosselaar’s character of Zach Morris had become the governor of California.
Diamond was not involved in the recent reboot, but his character of Screech was incorporated into the “College Years” show and the television movies. Gosselaar revealed that there were attempts to bring Diamond into the reboot at some point. During a March 2021 episode of his “Zack to the Future” podcast, Gosselaar explained, “I know that we were talking to get Dustin on the reboot for the second season.” He added, “There were even talks to get him for the first season, but COVID cut that short.” Ultimately, Gosselaar remembered Diamond as a good friend and amazing actor, and he noted, “my memories of him are all positive.”
It seemed Gosselaar’s confidence that Diamond was made for the role of Screech never wavered. During his podcast, Gosselaar noted, “Looking back on the show, he was a genius when it came to this type of comedy. For someone his age to do some of the things he does on the screen are brilliant.”