Mario Lopez is looking back on Dustin Diamond, his late “Saved by the Bell” co-star.
Diamond died at the age of 44 on Monday “due to carcinoma,” his rep told Fox News. His death came not long after he was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
The actor appeared as Samuel “Screech” Powers alongside Lopez, 47, in all four seasons of the coming-of-age sitcom, though he was not involved with the 2020 reboot.
Now the “Recipe for Seduction” star has opened up “Access Hollywood” about his late friend.
“I remember the first time I met Dustin. He was two years younger than the rest of the cast and he looked like a real-life cartoon character,” recalled Lopez. “He was just this sweet, goofy, funny kid and I’ve always been pretty immature so we got along real well.”
The actor also remembered Diamond as “a pretty funny character off-screen” as well as on-screen — perhaps “even a little sillier.”
“He definitely made me laugh, the way he carried himself and he had a lot of fun energy and he did a lot of silly stuff,” said Lopez. “Being a teenager, I appreciated it.”
The star said he thought of the actor “like a goofy, silly little brother” and gushed over what he brought to the table on “Saved by the Bell” by playing what Lopez called “an iconic nerd.”
He then recalled embarking on mall tours with his castmates and remembered Diamond being “really cool with everyone” by signing autographs and taking time to engage with fans.
The two actors stayed in touch after their time on the show and while Lopez admitted Diamond “had some struggles and a complicated life,” he said he “stood by” his co-star which could have led to them working together again.
Lopez mentioned “doing something cool” for “the upcoming season,” though it was unclear whether he was referring to Peacock’s “Saved by the Bell” reboot, or something else entirely.
Additionally, the actor said he pitched a reality project to Diamond when they spoke just weeks before his passing.
“I hope Dustin is remembered as a nice guy, good person, always took time to speak with people that were fans and wanted to connect with him,” gushed the “Pacific Blue” actor. “And as an iconic character that millions of people related to. He was on the show a long time and different versions of the show and it was a huge part of his life and I think he had a huge impact on TV, especially in the ’90s.”
He concluded: “He was a good guy at the end of the day.”