“Diet loved the universe,” his good friend and former castmate Mat Stevenson fondly recalls.
“He was a well-grounded guy who could get on with anyone, from a concreter to a philosopher or astronomer.
“He was so down to earth, laid-back and laconic. I don’t think he ever fully realised how famous he was back then. He loved meeting people and always had this smile that radiated from ear to ear.
“I have no doubt that if Diet had focused on chasing his acting career, rather than camping out in the bush or abseiling down a rock, the world would have been his oyster. He could have done anything if he’d set his sights on Hollywood.”
Happy-go-lucky Dieter, who was cast in Home and Away when he was only 15, was never that fame-hungry.
In 1996, at the height of his celebrity, Dieter asked to be written out of the show amid rumours that he and Melissa George, who played his on-screen wife Angel, could no longer stand to be in the same room.
“I wanted to prove to myself I could get my hands dirty and sweat for a buck instead of being primped and preened on set,” Dieter later told TV Tonight.
“I just wanted to get a bit of real-life experience under my belt, as great as all the fame and adulation was.”
After leaving the show, Dieter chose to stay in Australia and put his climbing skills to work as a successful high-rise window cleaner.
Last year however, with his business hard hit by COVID, he became increasingly withdrawn and stressed.
In a statement after his death on July 24, 2021, the Brummer family remembered him as “handsome, talented, funny, complicated and beloved. He has left a massive hole in our lives and our world will never be the same.”
Recently, bereaved Dawn held an intimate memorial get-together for Dieter at the family home in Sydney, where guests, including Mat, mingled with a medium.
“She told me Diet had a message for me,” grins Mat. “We always used to have competitions about who looked better in their Speedos, which he always won.
“The medium told me she could see Diet doing bicep poses and laughing, which floored me. He’s still taking the p--s out of me! He was always the life of the party.”
Mat has another precious memento from that night. As he left, Dawn handed him a miniature Silver Logie – “no bigger than a five cent piece” – made from one of Dieter’s two Most Popular Actor awards.
“It was beautiful,” says the father of two. “To keep Diet grounded, Dawn told him acting is a team sport and he couldn’t have done it without his Home and Away colleagues.
“They melted down one of his Logies and got a jeweller to use the metal to make 26 tiny Logies to share.
At the time, Dieter didn’t quite get around to giving them out, but Dawn has done it now.
“It’s really touching, she’s a remarkable woman. I’m planning to make mine into an earring, so Diet will always be with me.”