Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss, DJ for ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ dies at 40

Stephen "tWitch" Boss attends the FOX 2022 Upfront presentation  on May 16 in New York.
Stephen “Twitch” Boss in New York in May.
(Christopher Smith / Invision / Associated Press)

Stephen “Twitch” Boss, the former reality star who rose through the TV ranks as the DJ and later executive producer on the long-running “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” has died. He was 40.

Boss, a dancer who competed on “So You Think You Can Dance” and appeared in “Magic Mike XXL,” died by suicide Tuesday at a motel in Encino, according to a report Wednesday from the L.A. County coroner. A gunshot wound of the head was listed as the cause of death.

He was pronounced dead at the scene on Tuesday at 11:25 a.m. and an investigation is pending, a spokesperson for the coroner said.


The motel, previously identified by authorities as a Rodeway Inn, was later identified as an Oak Tree Inn.

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Boss checked into the property on Monday and his body was discovered by motel staff on Tuesday when they entered his room and saw blood, according to a manager at the motel who did not wish to be identified.

The L.A. City Fire Dept., along with paramedics, responded to a call at 11:15 a.m. and, after determining that Boss had died, handed over the investigation to the Los Angeles Police Dept. and L.A. County Coroner, said LAFD spokesperson Margaret Stewart.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us,” said Boss’ wife Allison Holker Boss in a statement obtained by The Times. “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.”

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Boss’ entire family became well known through their YouTube channel. Boss and his wife, also a professional dancer, and their three children shared family dance workouts, comedy and cooking videos.

“To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt. I am certain there won’t be a day that goes by that we won’t honor his memory,” she added, asking for privacy for herself and her family.

“Stephen, we love you, we miss you, and I will always save the last dance for you,” she wrote.


‘I will always save the last dance for you,’ Allison Holker, wife and dance partner of the late Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss, said in a statement.

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Born in Montgomery, Ala., on Sept. 29, 1982, the dancer got his famous nickname because he couldn’t sit still when he was a child. He graduated from high school in 2000 and went on to study dance performance at Southern Union State Community College in Wadley, Ala., and Chapman University in Orange.

He competed on MTV’s “The Wade Robson Project” as well as on “Star Search” in 2003. He made his first appearance on Fox‘s “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2005 but lost, then returned to become the competition’s runner-up in 2008. He came back for later seasons of the show as a judge.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres became a fan during Boss’ run on “So You Think You Can Dance” and the two connected when she asked him to choreograph a dance for her in 2010. She described their work that summer as “a crash course in getting to know each other.”

“I’m heartbroken,” DeGeneres wrote Wednesday on Twitter and Instagram. “tWitch was pure love and light. He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart. I will miss him.”

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The dancer turned to deejaying full-time on the syndicated “Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2014 during the Daytime Emmy-winning series’ 11th season. He also served as an unofficial co-host and occasional guest host in DeGeneres’ absence until the show ended its 19-season run in May following a toxic workplace scandal. He was promoted to co-executive producer in 2020.

During the show’s farewell season, DeGeneres surprised her sidekick with a video montage saluting their decade together, adding that he changed her life and her TV show.

“I love you and also, I love the family that we’ve gained here,” he said through tears. “You gave me a place where I can just be myself. I came here to dance one time. And now I’ve gained a family... Whether I was a real DJ or not, I always felt at home.”

As an actor, Boss appeared in the films “Blades of Glory,” “Hairspray,” “Stomp the Yard 2,” the “Step Up” franchise and “Ghostbusters” (2016). On the small screen, his credits included “Bones,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “Famous in Love” and “Modern Family.”

Boss is survived by his wife and three children, Weslie, 14, Maddox, 6, and Zaia, 3.

Suicide prevention and crisis counseling resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, seek help from a professional and call 9-8-8. The United States’ first nationwide three-digit mental health crisis hotline 988 will connect callers with trained mental health counselors. Text “HOME” to 741741 in the U.S. and Canada to reach the Crisis Text Line.

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