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Damond was born in San Jose, California to Jewish parents. They felt it was important that he was educated in a Jewish environment, so they enrolled him Daniel's Chapple A&E Zion Elementry in Anaheim, California. His first job involved working as a living mannequin in a department store display. He later auditioned for the lead role in the cult classic Cool as Ice but was rejected because he was too young. He was given a smaller role, but his scenes were cut from the movie. He also appeared briefly in Big Top Pee-wee.
Screech from Saved by the Bell
Dustin Diamond's most memorable role was the role of Samuel "Screech" Powers on Saved by the Bell, a role he played for close to thirteen years, from its beginning as Good Morning, Miss Bliss through its final incarnation as Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
Screech was originally supposed to have an extremely high pitched, almost squealing voice, but instead it was decided that the character would possess a quirky, adenoid, although not over the top tone instead. The show originally aired on The Disney Channel under the Good Morning, Miss Bliss title (now referred to as Saved By the Bell: The Junior High Years), featuring Hayley Mills in the titular role. After a year, the show was brought over to NBC and repackaged into its more well-known incarnation. Of all the show's characters, only Screech, Zack Morris, Lisa Turtle, and Mr. Belding made the jump from JFK Junior High in Indiana, to Bayside High in Palisades, California, although the incredibly abrupt change in venue was never acknowledged, much less explained.
Screech was more often than not a pivotal figure in the schemes and pranks of the Bayside gang, from pretending to be an alien (which almost resulted in his dissection at the hands of the government), to getting kidnapped by rival high school Valley in the ongoing inter-school "Prank War", and in one instance even winning the "Miss Bayside" Pageant, in spite of an impressive drum solo performed by A.C. Slater. His parents, who were extremely obsessed with all things Elvis-related, were never seen, aside from one episode where his mother leaves him in charge of the house as his parents went on a vacation to Graceland, which naturally led to an episode spanning dilemma involving a broken Elvis statue.
Screech's robot Kevin is also occasionally shown in some episodes, and Screech makes numerous references to his insect and animal collections. He has also been shown dressing up as (and dancing like) Michael Jackson, impersonating Zack on numerous occasions, and stereotypically portraying a Native American for Zack's school project. He claims to be descended from the "Great Italian lover and spy", Luigi Powerelli, making it clear that he is part Italian. In the final episode of the regular series, he willingly relinquishes the title of valedictorian to Jessie Spano, knowing how much it meant to her.
Continuing the series into college, Saved by the Bell: The College Years shows most of the cast transplanted into not only the same college, but also the same college dormitory. The most notable of Screech's actions in this series involves him stealing a canister of nitrous oxide from the chemistry lab, in order to gain acceptance from other students attending a rave after Slater belittles him about being a screwup. As fate would have it, Screech accidentally brought a can of Helium, and only the students' voices ended up getting high.
After the end of that series, he quickly returned to Bayside High as Mr. Belding's assistant in The New Class episodes, remaining with the show until its cancellation.
On April 19, 2006, the official website for Adult Swim announced that Saved by the Bell was going back into production, with the original first series characters (save for Elizabeth Berkley) becoming the new staff of Bayside High. Screech would be the principal according to the report. However, it was all a hoax, playing on the reactions to the recent series airings.
Diamond has kept busy professionally since the popular teenager sitcom was cancelled. He has been featured on a number of TV shows, including The Weakest Link, and has participated in a celebrity boxing contest, and professional wrestling matches. Of special note is his appearance on Celebrity Boxing, where he mercilessly pummeled an irate Ron Palillo, of Welcome Back, Kotter fame. Concerning his reaction to his decisive victory in the bout, Diamond claimed to have "...beaten Horshack like I was Soda Popinski".
He also has released a video entitled Dustin Diamond Teaches Chess where he shows various techniques for becoming a better chess player. It is punctuated by hammy, over the top performances by Dustin, often dressed in various costumes.
His appearance on the June 7, 2002 edition of The Opie and Anthony Show (with co-guest Jim Gaffigan), was widely considered to be the worst episode of the radio program ever. Although Diamond was not entirely blamed for the show's poor quality, he was far and away the person who was subjected most to malicious harassment by callers.
Diamond has a cameo appearance as himself in the movie Made, where Vince Vaughn's character incredulously questions a doorman at a club as to why "Screech" was allowed into the venue while he was not. Diamond also appeared in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star as himself as well. He is only shown in a few scenes (when Dickie is hanging out with a bunch of former child stars in an apartment and at Dickie's sitcom rehearsal).
In the May 2006 issue of Stuff magazine the readers voted Diamond the 3rd most annoying former child actor that they would like to punch in the face. He was beaten by former child stars Danny Bonaduce and Corey Feldman.
Diamond was a bass player in the band Salty The Pocketknife. The band is rumored to have disbanded, and to have been sued by its label for failing to adequately promote itself.
Dustin has been a stand-up comedian for some years. His comic style is very reminiscent to that of Bob Saget, referencing his sitcom years as well as using very blue humor in his stage act.
In 2003, Diamond attempted to take control of the domain dustindiamond.com, which was owned by Max Goldberg, the creator of YTMND. Diamond's lawyer, Herro & Lamont, LLC, served Goldberg with a cease and desist order that was entirely unsuccessful.
In 2004, the case was submitted to the National Arbitration Forum acting on behalf of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Diamond's complaint was filled with statements that, in light of Dustin's current career, could be considered both exaggerated and amusing.
Diamond ultimately lost the suit despite the fact that Goldberg, then 21, represented himself. The decision read, in part, "The Panel accepts Respondent's argument that the "outrageous ugly and low-tech graphics and numerous errors and misspellings" as well as the sheer absurdity of the site's claim that Dustin Diamond is a "FAMOUS SUPERSTAR AND SEX SYMBOL" clearly signal that the site is not meant to be taken seriously. Whether the site is regarded as parody, satire, or critical commentary, and notwithstanding Respondent's assertion that "[l]awyers are notoriously bad at understanding how humor works," this Panel finds that legitimate noncommercial fair use commentary is involved."
The precedent-setting decision is believed to be the first time that a celebrity has lost a domain name dispute to a non-commercial parody site.
While working on Saved by the Bell, members of the cast regularly dated each other. Diamond, who was considerably younger than the rest of the cast, was not a part of this, although he has claimed to have dated many of the show's extras. He had a relationship with Candace Cameron in the mid 90's.
Diamond claims to maintain a very close friendship with T.K. Carter, who played Milo the Assistant Principal on the Miss Bliss Episodes, as well as with Dennis Haskins (who played Mr. Belding) who, Diamond has been quoted as saying, "...showed him the ropes". Diamond admits that he was never close to the other teen actors during the taping of the show since he was three years younger than them. He says that he doesn't keep in touch with them as a result.
Diamond reportedly has plans to write a book about his experience growing up as a child actor. Rumors have circulated that he is the brother of Beastie Boy Michael Diamond, aka Mike D, as well as that he is the son of singer Neil Diamond, both of which are untrue. However, Dustin's father Mark Diamond did in fact make an appearance in a Saved by the Bell episode, where he played a science teacher who threatened to "...experiment with their grades."
On June 13, 2006, Diamond appeared on The Howard Stern Show to request financial assistance. Diamond was given 30 days to come up with $250,000 USD or risk losing his home for failing to make payments on his land lease. His "solution" was to sell t-shirts for $15 that had "I gave 15 dollars to help Screeech (sic) save his house" emblazoned on the front. He said that he would need to sell 30,000 t-shirts to completely cover the costs. He explained the extra 'e' in Screeech was in order to circumvent copyright laws, for he does not own the rights to the name or character. He also claimed that he has a 10 inch penis.
On June 14, 2006, Diamond did a phone interview with MTV Live the flagship show for MTV Canada promoting the sale of his "D-Shirts" to save his home. During the interview host Daryn Jones' first question to Diamond was what the name of the dance that he and character Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies) did in the episode of Saved by the Bell where there was a dance contest. Diamond responded "The Sprain." Coincidentally, the next day on June 15, 2006 that episode aired on TBS in Canada at 08:30 EST.
On June 15, 2006, he conducted a phone interview with the Toucher and Rich radio show on WBCN in Boston. Despite repeatedly attempting to promote the sale of his t-shirts to save his home, the hosts ridiculed him and would only refer to him as his Screech character. Diamond ultimately hung up in apparent disgust after making his frusturation apparent, and the ridicule continued after the hangup. The interview coincided with Diamond's promoted appearance later that night at a Boston-area bar in which he was to simply hang out and drink with the patrons.
Diamond and his fianc?e Jennifer reside in Port Washington, Wisconsin. In December 2004, she suffered a miscarriage due to an ectopic pregnancy. He later created the Dustin Diamond Foundation, which supports organizations which specialize in child care.