What Was Dustin Diamond's Net Worth When He Died?

In 2021, fans of the beloved high school sitcom "Saved by the Bell" mourned the untimely death of Dustin Diamond, better known for his nerdy onscreen persona Samuel "Screech" Powers. Only 44 at the time he died, Diamond had small cell carcinoma, a type of lung cancer. Fans of "Saved by the Bell" — and of Diamond's work as a musician and stand-up comic — might also be surprised to learn that his net worth was much less than some might expect despite his decades-long career in show business, as Celebrity Net Worth explains.

The TV star died just weeks after receiving a stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis, based on reporting from NBC News. Diamond received his cancer diagnosis in a Florida hospital only a few months after he sought medical attention for body pains and for a lump in his neck, as TMZ notes. Sadly, Diamond had completed his first round of chemotherapy only a matter of weeks before he was taken off of life support and transitioned to hospice care, as NBC News also explains. According to Diamond's spokesperson, Roger Paul, two people close to the star were with Diamond when he died.

Dustin Diamond's net worth was only $300,000 when he died

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Dustin Diamond was worth about $300,000 when he died, after experiencing some financial issues over the years.

In 2006, Diamond filed for bankruptcy, and he tried and failed to earn money in real estate. That same year, Diamond even appeared on "The Howard Stern Show" selling T-shirts with his face on them to save his home from foreclosure, as the New York Post reports. Diamond's financial troubles became so severe that he even faced several tax warrants, as Celebrity Net Worth notes. Diamond owed nearly $94,000 in back taxes to the state of Wisconsin, as Daily Mail reports.

When news broke of Diamond's cancer diagnosis, his friend and Insurance King president, Dan Block, posted a get-well message for Diamond on a NASCAR that he sponsored, but sadly, he died before the race could take place (via TMZ). Among Diamond's dying wishes was to meet Tool bassist Justin Chancellor and to visit the "Star Wars: Galaxy Edge" exhibit at Disney World, but he died before those two things could happen, as Page Six reports.

What happened to his wealth?

Born in San Jose, California, in 1977, Dustin Diamond began his acting career at age 11, based on his Celebrity Net Worth biography. Some child stars who start working that young end up with millions, but that would not prove to be true in this case. Diamond blamed a lot of his money troubles on his family's mismanagement of his earnings from "Saved by the Bell." His family, in fact, spent most of the money he made from the show while he was still a minor, as Diamond revealed to FOX6 News. As Diamond told the news outlet, "It's a shame. My parents wasted so much of my hard work. A lot of my youth."

Diamond also ran into some legal troubles in his short life. In 2014, he was arrested for a bar fight during which a man was allegedly stabbed and was sentenced to four months in prison for carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct, according to The U.S. Sun. Diamond later claimed he was defending his fiancée in the fight. Diamond was arrested one last time in 2016 for violating the terms of his probation (per CNN). At that point, he had only a few hundred dollars left from the money he earned on "Saved by the Bell," as Showbiz CheatSheet explains. Although Diamond continued to work in entertainment, he never achieved great financial success in any of his subsequent projects.

His post-Saved by the Bell projects failed to take off

Around the same time that Dustin Diamond's legal troubles occurred, he tried to transition to music, playing bass in an alternative metal band called Salty the Pocketknife. Speaking with the online music news outlet Chaos Control Digizine, Diamond explained that the band was together for nearly three years before their first debut record was recorded and that, for Diamond, there were other musical projects prior to Salty. Despite his best efforts, though, the media tended to focus on Diamond's past and not solely on the music, which he would prefer.

"A lot of morning radio people, all they do is play the 'Saved By The Bell' music and talk about 'Saved By The Bell,'" Diamond said. "I don't think my music has anything to do with my acting," he added. Nonetheless, Diamond's band failed to find much success in its brief tenure, and Salty broke up after just one album. Diamond also continued to act and perform stand-up comedy, but despite steady work, the projects he starred in never gained much traction. His final film, "El Chapo and the Curse of the Pirate Zombies," also starring Tara Reid, was completed before he died, and it is available to watch now on Netflix.

He was embroiled in controversy

Despite forays into playing music and continuing to work in movies and on TV whenever possible, Dustin Diamond also became embroiled in public controversy, and not just for his string of arrests. In 2006, Diamond was allegedly featured in a sex tape called "Screech: Saved by the Smell." But on Oprah Winfrey's show "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", Diamond said it was only his face in the footage, and he was otherwise not in the movie, according to the New York Post. Diamond told Winfrey that he hoped the movie would earn lots of money, but the concept backfired. "I realize that was really dumb," he added.

Diamond also played the villain on the VH1 reality show "Celebrity Fit Club," but he later alleged that the show was scripted. Around that same time, Diamond earned the title of Celebrity Boxing Champion on the TV reality show "Celebrity Boxing," and later on, he agreed to face YouTube star Chris "Bagel Boss Guy" Morgan in the ring (per Page Six). Diamond had previously bested the much smaller Ron "Horshak" Palillo on "Celebrity Boxing," earning him $30,000. The former child star hoped his good luck would continue, but the fight never happened — Morgan pulled out at the last minute, as Bleacher Report explains.

He aired Saved by the Bell's dirty laundry in a book and a movie

Topping off the scandals from around this same time was a tell-all book called "Behind the Bell," which cast Dustin Diamond's time on the beloved show in a negative light. First released in 2009, the book was later adapted into the controversial "The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story" in 2014 (via IMDb). Diamond said that book, too, was merely for publicity and written by a ghostwriter. Nonetheless, the book and the subsequent TV movie adaptation alleged sexual misconduct and drug use on the set of the show, among other scandals. Almost as quickly as the book was released, Diamond tried to walk back those allegations.

On Oprah Winfrey's "Where Are They Now?", Diamond said that the authors turned throwaway comments into "factual trash-talking ... I have nothing but good thoughts and memories toward everybody." The actor also said he never read a draft of the book before it was published. Nevertheless, Diamond was not invited to several "Saved by the Bell" reunions and special appearances. The actor later claimed that his absence from those reunions was by choice, according to IMDb.