Entertainment

Mario Lopez Publicly Supports Former Co-Star Dustin Diamond aka ‘Screech’ After ‘Heartbreaking’ Stage 4 Cancer Diagnosis

Photo via mariolopezviva/Twitter

Mario Lopez is living proof that true old friends stick by your side–no matter what. The “Access Hollywood” co-host took to Twitter recently to voice his support of his friend and former “Saved By the Bell” co-star, Dustin Diamond after the tragic revelation of Diamond’s stage four cancer diagnosis.

“I connected with Dustin earlier this evening and although the news of his diagnosis is heartbreaking, we remain positive that he’ll overcome this,” wrote Lopez. “Praying for him & his family and for a speedy recovery.
God Bless”.

On Thursday, Dustin Diamond aka “Screech” was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer after he was admitted to the hospital for intense pain.

In addition to feeling pain all over his body, Diamond also allegedly discovered a “huge lump” on his throat. Although his representatives describe his condition as serious, he is reportedly undergoing chemotherapy and his friends and loved ones are hopeful for his recovery.

“We can confirm that Dustin does have cancer,” a representative for Diamond revealed to People. “It’s very serious, though we are still waiting for more details, which we will have shortly. He’s in a lot of pain.”

To Entertainment Weekly, his reps said: “By next week, we’ll have a much better understanding of the severity of his condition and what treatments he will need so that he’s comfortable.” They also added that Diamond was “fading in and out” when he was first admitted to the hospital.

Dustin Diamond and Mario Lopez have long had a complicated relationship.

In Mario Lopez’s 2014 book “Just Between Us,” he revealed that Diamond wasn’t exactly beloved by the rest of the cast. “Not everyone got along with Screech AKA Dustin Diamond. I did, but maybe I was the exception,” he wrote. “He was one of those dorky kids who thought it was hilarious to take Polaroids of his genitals and leave the photos all over the set.”

In Dustin Diamond’s 2009 tell-all book “Behind the Bell”, he painted a picture of negative experience on set. The youngest of the cast, Diamond often felt ostracized by the “in crowd” Bay City High’s hotter, older cast members.

After “Saved By the Bell” stopped filming, Dustin Diamond had a hard time getting back on his feet.

Diamond seemed to be embroiled in endless controversy, from reality show fights, to sex tapes, to bar-room brawls. In 2015, he was sentenced to four months in jail after stabbing a man during a bar fight.

He sat down for an interview with Mario Lopez for Extra in 2016 to set the record straight about his alleged bad body behavior. At that point, Diamond told Lopez that he had started a new chapter in his life.

“I want to put the tom foolery and malarkey behind me, you know? It’s time for that clean slate. Time for the change.”

Well, we hope Diamond gets better so he can fulfill his dreams of having a new lease on life. We’re glad his old friends are standing by him.

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Who Is Alycia Pascual-Peña? Meet the Afro-Latina Starring in ‘Moxie’ and ‘Saved by the Bell’

Entertainment

Who Is Alycia Pascual-Peña? Meet the Afro-Latina Starring in ‘Moxie’ and ‘Saved by the Bell’

Photo via alyciadelsol/Instagram

In the past, Hollywood hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to portraying Afro-Latinos onscreen. Typically, Afro-Latino actors must check one box: African-American or Latino. But now, thanks to actors like Alycia Pascual-Peña, all that is changing.

Alycia Pascual-Peña is not a household name yet. But chances are, you’ve seen her pop up on your screen during in the past year.

Alycia Pascual-Peña starred in 2020’s “Saved By the Bell” reboot as the fun-loving Aisha Garcia. Now, she’s starring in the hit Netflix movie, “Moxie”.

A quick Google search of Alycia Pascual-Peña will return a list of auto-filled questions. “What is Alycia Pascual-Peña’s ethnicity?” “What is Alycia Pascual-Peña’s age?” Obviously, people are curious about the 21-year-old actress of Dominican descent. And with good reason. Alycia Pascual-Peña is different.

The two major roles that Alycia has starred in in the last year have been Afro-Latina characters. But the writers didn’t originally create the roles that way. In fact, her “Saved by the Bell” character was re-written to be Latina when producers overheard her speaking Spanish on set.

“[The roles] simply became that because I was a part of projects that really respected my voice and committed themselves to portraying diverse multi-dimensional women,” she recently told PopSugar.

Yes Alycia’s presence in Hollywood has created more Afro-Latina characters on screen. But there is still work to do.

Alycia Pascual-Peña is blunt about how few roles there are out there specifically written for people like her. “Typically as an Afro-Latina, I can still firmly say within my years acting…I’ve only seen about two roles that specifically asked for an Afro-Latina,” she revealed to PopSugar.

This phenomenon is frustrating. And because of this reality, many Afro-Latina actresses like Zoë Saldaña, Rosario Dawson, and Gina Torres have their Latino identities erased on screen. Often, Hollywood forces Afro-Latina actresses to play stereotypes of what they believe Black women are.

As an Afro-Latina in Hollywood, Alycia knows how harmful these generalizations are.

“For so long, people [have] wanted me to pick what I ‘truly’ am because they want me to fit in one box,” she told Teen Vogue.

“I’ve had to be resilient. There have been moments where I felt like there is no space for me in this industry, because, still to this day, there are no roles written for Afro-Latinos.”

Alycia Pascual-Peña hopes that she’ll be able to nudge the entertainment industry towards more inclusive storytelling.

“I’m praying to see more stories that include Afro-Latinas and be respected for our complexity and our community,” she recently said.

And in her Teen Vogue interview, she revealed that she has bigger plans that transcend acting. “It’s always been a goal to write and produce because, at the end of the day, they’re the ones who have the jurisdiction of really navigating where the stories go,” she said.

“I want to tell nuanced stories about Afro-Latina women. We have to make a way for ourselves.”

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Dustin Diamond aka ‘Screech’ from ‘Saved By the Bell’ Dies at 44; Mario Lopez and Former Cast Members Grieve

Entertainment

Dustin Diamond aka ‘Screech’ from ‘Saved By the Bell’ Dies at 44; Mario Lopez and Former Cast Members Grieve

Photo via elizberkley/Instagram

Today, former “Saved By the Bell” cast members are grieving the lost of someone who once was an integral member of their team.

On Monday, Dustin Diamond, well known for playing the loveable, zany character Screech on “Saved by the Bell” passed away from carcinoma at the age of 44.

Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen, and Elizabeth Berkley all publicly eulogized Dustin Diamond on social media.

It was just a few weeks ago that Diamond’s diagnosis was revealed to the public. His rep released the following statement:

“We are saddened to confirm of Dustin Diamond’s passing on Monday, February 1st, 2021 due to carcinoma. He was diagnosed with this brutal, relentless form of malignant cancer only three weeks ago. In that time, it managed to spread rapidly throughout his system;

His rep went on to say that Diamond’s death was quick and that he “did not suffer”.

As soon as the news of his death was announced, Diamond’s former “Saved By the Bell” co-star, Mario Lopez, took to Twitter to pay his condolences to Diamond’s family.

Lopez posted a picture of himself beside Diamond, along with the heartfelt note: “Dustin, you will be missed my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on…”

Later, Lopez spoke with Variety about how he was still struggling to “process” Diamond’s death.

“I actually just spoke with him a couple of weeks ago. He was reluctant to go in [to the hospital] for a while because he didn’t know if anything was going to get out,” Lopez revealed. “And I said, ‘Bro, that’s foolish, you’ve got to get in there and take care of yourself and forget what people are saying.’ Some people thought his illness was a joke, which is awful, but the internet always spills tales.

Lopez also revealed that he himself was sure that Diamond was going to pull through. “When all of this was happening, I was optimistic that he would make a recovery, but it was obviously too late,” he said.

Dustin Diamond and Mario Lopez may have had a somewhat complicated relationship, but they remained in touch years after the show ended.

In Mario Lopez’s 2014 book “Just Between Us,” he confirmed the long-standing rumors that Diamond wasn’t exactly beloved by the rest of the cast. “Not everyone got along with Screech AKA Dustin Diamond. I did, but maybe I was the exception,” he wrote.

“From when I found out he was sick to his passing, it’s been incredibly quick. It’s so fresh, it’s incredibly hard to process,” he revealed. “And it’s shocking because he was so young; he was only 44. I honestly thought, ‘There’s no way [he won’t make it]. It sucks, but he’ll bounce back.’”

And indeed, controversy followed Diamond long after he graduated from Bay City High.

Diamond consistently made headlines due to everything from reality show fights, to sex tapes, to bar-room brawls.

In 2016, Diamond sat down for an interview with Mario Lopez on Extra, explaining that he wanted to start a new chapter in his life.

“I want to put the tom foolery and malarkey behind me, you know? It’s time for that clean slate. Time for the change.”

Diamond’s rep is asking that his family is given the time and privacy necessary to grieve their loss.

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