New York (AFP)

American actor Dustin Diamond, best known for his role as iconoclast Screech in the series "Saved by the Bell", died on Monday of devastating cancer, his agent confirmed to AFP.

According to Roger Paul, his agent, Dustin Diamond, who was 44, was only diagnosed three weeks ago.

He "did not suffer," said the representative.

The career of this Californian of origin will have been launched by the series "Hello Miss Bliss" (1987-1989), of which a good part of the team will then migrate to "Saved by the Bell".

Aired by NBC, "Saved by the Bell" will last for four seasons, 86 episodes, and will be very popular outside the United States.

The series tells the daily life of students of an imaginary high school in Los Angeles, Bayside High School, in a light tone, while evoking in passing some major problems of adolescence.

Dustin Diamond played Samuel "Screech" Powers, a student with quirky concerns and reflections, a perfect counterpoint to the popular Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), undisputed hero of the series.

Although having contributed to the success of the series, Dustin Diamond will be entrusted, thereafter, only small roles in secondary productions.

The actor will be talked about again in 2009 for a book, "Behind The Bell", a behind-the-scenes story of the series, rich in crisp anecdotes, but which Dustin Diamond will later admit was riddled with lies.

Last year, Dustin Diamond was absent from the new version of "Saved by the Bell", broadcast on the new platform Peacock, and in which appeared many alumni of the initial series.

"We know that Dustin is not considered recommendable by most people," commented his agent Roger Paul, who spoke of "a series of failures, unfortunate events".

In 2015, he was sentenced to four months in prison for stabbing a customer in a Wisconsin bar following an altercation.

"He was not intentionally malicious," insists the agent, explaining that the actor had to go through many trials, without giving more details.

He prefers to remember a man whose "greatest passion was to make others laugh."

© 2021 AFP