Tiffani Thiessen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar "Sad" for Dustin Diamond

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By Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
Oct 20, 2009

Dustin Diamond's "Behind the Bell" tell-all about his days on "Saved by the Bell" includes his tattle tales of possible teen sexcapades, pot smoking and steroid use among his old cast mates -- although he's only guessing, because he never seems to have been invited into anyone's dressing room. Those cast mates aren't angry about it -- at least, not Tiffani Thiessen, who says: "Poor thing. It's so sad."

Working in New York on her new USA Network series, "White Collar," she says that she and fellow "Bell" alum Mark-Paul Gosselaar "talk a lot -- his play ('The Understudy') is in previews here -- and we feel bad for him. I talk to a lot of people from the show. We feel more sorry for him than anything. Some of the accusations he makes are a little ridiculous. They're comical."

Diamond, still best known as Screech from the old show, "generally felt a little more of an outcast," Thiessen recalls. "His mother died of cancer when he was young, and his father was, well, maybe not the best father. He walked away with a little bit of a bitter taste. I don't know why. We were never mean to him; I know that. He played a geek and was a little bit of a geek himself."

As for the "Bell" actors' responses, she says: "What are you going to do? We're not out there to bash him. ... I hope something will turn for him."

MEANWHILE: Right now, Tiffani's attention is on "White Collar," debuting Friday (10/23). She's playing the event planner wife of Tim DeKay's FBI man character. Matt Bomer's playing the charming master criminal who becomes the unlikely helper and friend of DeKay's G-man. Like other USA Network shows, it's character-driven and full of drollery.

"It's the boys' show. I actually don't work as much as they do. Taking a job more on the supporting side is nice after having worked 17-hour days my whole career," says Thiessen, whose series work also includes "Beverly Hills, 90210." "I do love everyone I'm working with on this show -- which I haven't been able to say on some other shows."