Tori Spelling shares touching tribute to Dustin Diamond: 'My 1st on-screen kiss'

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Gina Vivinetto
·3 min read
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Tori Spelling is honoring her "first onscreen love," Dustin Diamond, who died Monday.

Before she found fame on "Beverly Hills, 90210," Spelling had a recurring role as Violet Bickerstaff, the girlfriend of Diamond's character, Screech Powers, on "Saved by the Bell." In a heartwarming tribute she shared Monday on Instagram, Spelling remembered Diamond as a "gentleman."

"My 1st onscreen love Dustin Diamond got his Angel wings today... Before there was David and Donna there was Screech and Violet," she wrote.

"Dustin was my first on-screen kiss," she continued. "He welcomed me with open arms onto the set of Saved By the Bell. As one can imagine being the newbie on a hit show was overwhelming for a 14-year-old girl. He not only showed me around but made sure I was always ok. Such a young gentleman. He was kind, smart, and always making everyone laugh. He was a great scene partner. He was a really good guy."

Saved By The Bell (Alice S. Hall / NBC)
Saved By The Bell (Alice S. Hall / NBC)

Spelling went on to say that she regretted that she and Diamond hadn't kept in touch over the years.

"I’m sad after the show we never had much contact aside from occasionally running into each other at events," she she wrote. "I’m glad he’s out of pain. He’s an icon to me professionally and personally. RIP Samuel love, your Violet ❤️"

A spokesperson for Diamond told NBC News that the actor died Monday morning of lung cancer at age 44. Diamond's death comes less than one month after fans learned the actor had been hospitalized with stage 4 cancer.

Diamond's "Saved by the Bell" co-stars Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and Mark-Paul Gosselaar all honored the actor on Monday.

"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..." Lopez wrote on Instagram alongside a gallery of photo of the pair.

"I am deeply saddened by the news of my old co-star @realdustindiamond passing. Life is extremely fragile and it’s something we should never take for granted. God speed Dustin," Thiessen wrote on Instagram next to a photo of the actor.

"I’m grateful to have gotten to create with Dustin when we were at the beginning of our dreams coming true," wrote Berkley Lauren on Instagram.

Gosselaar called Diamond a "comedic genius" in his own emotional tribute.

"Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius," wrote Gosselaar.

"My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Looking back at our time working together, I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce. A pie in your face, my comrade," he added.