Friends drift apart sometimes. That’s the sad, unfortunate truth we all face.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar is confronting that reality right now, as he grapples with the death of his former Saved By The Bell co-star Dustin Diamond from an aggressive form of lung cancer on Monday, February 1.
The grieving actor went on Tamron Hall‘s eponymous daytime TV show on Tuesday morning for a virtual interview. There, he was flanked by his current co-stars on mixed-ish — Tika Sumpter and Christina Anthony — but the topic of the day was Diamond’s sudden, tragic death.
Still obviously thrown by his infamous co-star’s incredibly sad, sudden passing at just 44 years old, Gosselaar reflected as best he could. When asked about it by Tamron, the actor offered (below):
“It’s always tough when someone passes away. I think it’s even more so when the individual is someone you know and the age of Dustin. It was only a few weeks ago that we heard about his diagnosis and for it to happen so quickly is shocking. Myself and the rest of the cast, we will get together at some point and sort of express our feelings, but yeah, it happened so quickly that we’re all just pretty shocked about it.”
No kidding. We’re all shocked about it… Everything just happened so quickly.
To her credit, Hall held Gosselaar to a larger question here, though: why did the entire original Saved By The Bell cast appear in Peacock‘s recent re-boot except for Diamond, and why had all the co-stars more or less lost touch with Diamond over the years?
The 46-year-old actor reflected on that sore spot, saying:
“It’s interesting. A lot of people may not understand that you can work with somebody for years — you can be very close, you see this person every day for an entire season of shooting and then once things wrap, the camera stops, you just drift apart. There’s no reason other than just things happen in life and before you know it, years have passed and I think that was what happened with Dustin with the rest of the cast. There was a time when I wasn’t talking with anybody on the cast.”
We get that. Like we said, everybody’s busy, life gets in the way, stuff comes up, and then you look up and it’s ten years later, and… yeah. That. Sigh.
Still, it’s no less tragic to think about Screech on the outs with his co-stars after such a memorable run on TV. It feels like the clear lesson here is that life is short and we should make the most of it, but even that doesn’t seem fair in light of Diamond’s case.
You can watch Gosselaar’s comments on his childhood friend and co-star on The Tamron Hall Show in this clip (below):
Obviously, it’s a very emotional subject — and it will be for a while. We’re still reeling from it, too. 44 is just so young. Ugh.
Sending all our love to those who need it…