‘Saved by the Bell’ star Dustin Diamond was ‘a comedy genius,’ says EP Peter Engel: 'It's a sad day'
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The actor passed away on Monday at age 44. Diamond was diagnosed with stage 4 small cell carcinoma cancer last month.
"It’s heartbreaking. It’s a sad, sad day," Engel told Us Weekly on Monday. "He was a comedy genius."
According to the outlet, Engel met Diamond when the young star was just 11 years old. He immediately noticed that even as a child, Diamond had a special quality that made him stand out from his co-stars.
Table read of 'Saved by the Bell': (L-R): Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski, Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zachary 'Zack' Morris, Mario Lopez as Albert Clifford "A.C.' Slater, Dustin Diamond as Screech Powers, Executive Producer Peter Engel. (Alice S. Hall/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)
"People who know me from my producing and writing know that I hate to have anything change until I see it," Engel explained to the outlet. "He’d say, ‘Pete, let me try it this way.’ And I would say, ‘Eh, well, try it my way.’ Nine out of 10 times, we’d go with his way. Those who know me know that’s not my style."
Engel even recalled how Diamond made him "ruined" multiple episodes of the show when they were shooting in Hawaii.
"I kept ruining the scene because he would make me laugh so much," said Engel. "I ruined all the scenes in the Hawaii movie and the Las Vegas movie. He had me laughing for 11 years and I’m laughing now remembering. It makes me feel better."
"Saved by the Bell" aired from 1989 to 1993, and its spinoffs included "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" and "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," both of which Diamond starred in.
Dustin Diamond passed away on Feb. 1 at age 44. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Diamond’s girlfriend was by his side when he passed away, TMZ reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.