From his earliest days as a budding dancer, Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss proved himself a born entertainer, ‘lighting up every room he walked into’ with his infectious energy and over-the-top enthusiasm – which ultimately propelled him into the bright lights of Hollywood stardom.
His dynamic personality and passion for movement earned him the nickname that would eventually become synonymous with his starry persona – with audiences on the Ellen Show shouting it out at the top of their lungs for years.
tWitch’s tragic death by suicide at the age of 40 this week marked a shocking and very sudden end to what had been a powerful and positive ascent up the infamously-slippery celebrity ladder.
tWitch and wife Alison Holker are pictured at Disneyland in a promotional shot for their unscripted show Disney Fairy Tale Weddings. The pair were married for nine years prior to his passing on Tuesday
In 2014, tWitch became the in house DJ for the Ellen DeGeneres show before becoming a co-executive producer of the daytime talk show in 2020
The true beginning of the prolific performer’s rise to fame occurred when he placed second on So You Think You Can Dance in 2008, opening the door to many entertainment-industry opportunities
The social media star, who was born in Montgomery, Alabama, burst onto the scene with the same dynamism that he displayed in his dancing – a passion that began as a young child, who couldn’t stop moving and loved to put on performances in his family home.
Those early skills started as nothing more than the basis for a silly nickname, but they would eventually create the foundation for an impressive career that crossed from talk shows into reality series and, finally, into social media superstardom.
Prior to his untimely death by a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Tuesday, tWitch became a celebrated entertainer over the last decade through his high-spirited dance videos and various roles on reality television, social media, and movies.
tWitch’s rise to fame: How the normal Alabama kid with a love of dancing found fame after appearing on So You Think You Can Dance? in 2008
The Alabama native studied dance at the Southern Union State Community College and Chapman University, before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue his career.
It was as a teen that he earned the nicknamed tWitch, thanks to his interest in the style of dance known as ‘popping’ – which consists of a series of jerky moments that his peers felt reminded them of somebody ‘twitching.’
‘I was always spinning and staying in motion,’ he previously told Kam Williams, adding of the nickname, ‘I don’t mind it at all. It’s a part of my being, it’s become part of my persona.’
People soon started referring to him as tWitch, and he explained that had previously called his car – a Toyota Paseo – the same nickname, so the moniker was extra special to him.
‘A lot of my dance knowledge and a lot of my dance thoughts took place in that car,’ he explained.
In 2003, he made his foray into the world of reality television when he appeared on MTV’s The Way Robson Project, where he came in third place. He then had a stint on the revival of Star Search, during which, he was a runner up.
Early on his career, he also helped choreograph dances for various artists including South Korean pop star Seven and the K-pop band Big Bang.
He then branched out into acting, landing a small role as an uncredited ‘flamboyant dancer’ in the movie Blades of Glory, as well as a background dancer in the flick Hairspray.
But his big breakthrough came in 2008, when he competed in the third season of So You Think You Can Dance? and came in second place.
tWitch’s continued success: The star spent years teaching dance to others, before landing a gig as a DJ on The Ellen Show in 2014
tWitch (far left) had roles in a number of dance-centric movies, including Magic Mike XXL, and several of the Step Up sequels
After tWitch’s success on So You Think You Can Dance? he spent a few years teaching dance alongside fellow finalist Katee Shean at the South County Classical Ballet school.
He also made a few appearances on the show as an All Star dancer over the years, and performed on Dancing With the Stars in 2013.
In 2014, tWitch received another big break when he became the in house DJ for Ellen’s long-running daytime talk show.
He worked on the series up until its conclusion in 2022 – and in 2020, he was even made a co-executive producer. He also teamed up with the talk show host for the spinoff Ellen’s Game of Games.
In 2022, tWitch was made a permanent judge on So You Think You Can Dance
In addition, tWitch’s acting career continued to flourish. In 2010, he starred as Jason Hardlerson in the third film from the Step Up franchise – Step Up 3D.
He subsequently appeared in 2012’s Step up Revolution and 2014’s Step Up: All In. He also acted in the 2015 flick Magic Mike XXL, and made appearances in shows like Modern Family and Famous in Love. His most recent film, Hip hop Nutcracker, was released on November 25.
He also launched his own apparel line called Twitch clothing and became the host of Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings in 2017, alongside his wife, Alison Holker.
The show featured couples planning Disney-themed weddings. It went on for three seasons, before it ended in April 2020.
Prior to his passing, tWitch served as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance?’s seventeenth season.
tWitch’s personal life: He married fellow professional dancer Alison Holker in 2013, and together, they welcomed two children
Boss is survived by his wife and their three children, Weslie, 14, Maddox, 6, and Zaia, 3
In 2013, tWitch married fellow professional dancer and Dancing With the Stars alumna Alison, 34.
The pair welcomed son Maddox, now six, and daughter Zaia, now three, respectively over the years. tWitch also adopted Alison’s daughter Weslie, 14, from a previous relationship.
Fans got a closer look into his home life during the pandemic, when he and Alison began posting fun-loving dance videos together – and he was soon shot into social media stardom.
He often showcased his epic moves and bright personality through the videos, which were shared to his Instagram and TikTok – where he racked up more than 3.4 million followers and 4.9 followers respectively.
The couple told US Weekly in 2020 that they started sharing the videos in an attempt to ‘find the silver lining’ during lockdown.
‘We get to see how we really work together when we really have no choice of going anywhere at all, you know, and that’s where all of that comes into play,’ tWitch explained.
Just days before his passing, tWitch and Alison celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary with touching social media tributes to one another.
The family man and his wife and children frequently made red carpet appearances together
‘It’s our 9th anniversary! I couldn’t be more grateful to celebrate this perfect magical day,’ Allison gushed.
‘Saying YES to @sir_twitch_alot has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life!
‘I feel so blessed and loved! I love you baby and I will never take you or OUR love for granted! I LOVE YOU.’
And in a tribute to her late husband following his death, Alison wrote, ‘Stephen lit up every room he stepped into.
‘He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him.
‘He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans.
‘To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt.’