Stephen 'tWitch' Boss: Who Was Ellen's Famous Sidekick?

The following article contains references to suicide.

Stephen "tWitch" Boss was well known for being Ellen DeGeneres' DJ sidekick on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" — but that's not all he was. The multi-talented celeb was also known for his absolutely incredible dance skills — a talent that he showcased on numerous occasions.

In addition to being a skilled dancer and television personality, tWitch was also well known for being a family man. His high-profile romance with fellow dancer Allison Holker was definitely a marriage many of us held in high esteem. "He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him," Holker said in a statement (via Yahoo). "He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans."

Sadly and unexpectedly on December 13, 2022, tWitch died by suicide, reported Us Weekly. "It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us," Holker revealed in a statement. "Stephen lit up every room he stepped into."

Take a look back with us as we celebrate the life of tWitch.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Stephen 'tWitch' Boss was an Alabama native

Obviously, if you're a famous celeb working in the entertainment industry, it makes sense that your home base would be in Los Angeles. After all, that's where most of the big movie studios are located as well as, of course, Hollywood itself. To that end, it's not surprising that Stephen "tWitch" Boss called Los Angeles his home — it's where "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" established its headquarters, after all.

However, tWitch was not a native of Southern California — far from it. The dancer hailed from Montgomery, Alabama, and he was proud of his hometown. "Its history is very deep, and I'm so grateful to be from there," he explained in an interview with Kam Williams. "It really helps me in my day-to-day life. It helped me establish my values, my base of who I am and how I feel about things." He revealed that he hoped to establish a community center there someday.

Additionally, tWitch had the importance of faith instilled in him growing up. "I was raised religious, for the most part, which came with a spiritual component that has continued," he added. "So, I've always had spirituality around me."

This is how tWitch got his nickname

While the whole world knows who Stephen "tWitch" Boss is today, not everyone knows just how he got his nickname. As it turns out, it was inspired by one of his first cars, which was a hooptie that the dancer called Twitch. "I took [the name] Twitch when I was about 20 years old because that was when I first started dancing, going places and teaching dance, and a lot of my dance knowledge and a lot of my dance thoughts took place in that car," he told "Whether it was to Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Bessemer, Birmingham, whatever. I'd choreograph in the car."

However, that's not the only reason tWitch used the moniker. In a chat with Kam Williams, tWitch also revealed that the name was first bestowed on him during childhood, thanks to his propensity for movement. Given the way that tWitch tended to dance, we can't think of a better nickname.

He started dancing because of a very famous celeb

If you ever saw Stephen "tWitch" Boss dance, you know that he had some insanely talented moves and was innately gifted with his body. To that end, do you wonder why tWitch ended up falling in love with dance in the first place? As it happens, the young tWitch was a huge Michael Jackson fan, and the King of Pop made quite an impression on him.

"I had the 'Bad' tape, I used to just let that run and dance my heart out," he recalled in an interview with in 2013. "I had his VHS tape, 'Moonwalker' — that was in constant [rotation]." He added that he still had "Moonwalker" memorized, which shows just how enamored tWitch was with Michael. 

Additionally, tWitch's love of the Jackson family spread to Michael's super incredible sister Janet Jackson. "And that fed into Janet [Jackson], and Janet used to dance as well," he continued. "There was this time in the '90s when everybody had dance in their videos." No wonder young tWitch cultivated such a joy for dance!

While in high school, Stephen 'tWitch' Boss knew he wanted to be a pro dancer

Falling in love with dance is one thing, but making the decision to shoot for the pros is quite another. Insofar as Stephen "tWitch" Boss was concerned, that moment happened after he was cast in a high school production of the classic musical "The Wiz." That's when he was introduced to other students who studied dance at studios, which was a revelation for tWitch.

"The moment I found that out, my whole [mind] was blown," he proclaimed in an interview with Vibe. "I started noticing background dancers in music videos and connecting the dots like, 'That's the same person. That means you can have a career in dancing.'" After that, a fire was lit inside of the aspiring dancer.

As for what tWitch did to manifest his ambition, he knew that he had to catch up with his peers — and that meant becoming a scholar of the art form. "I was not classically trained before that," he continued. "I went to college for dance so I did take the basics of ballet, jazz, modern, a little bit of tap — I was so bad at tap." 

Back in the day, Stephen tWitch Boss competed on Star Search

In the early aughts, Stephen "tWitch" Boss appeared on a reboot of "Star Search." The original Ed McMahon-hosted program ran from 1983 to 1995 but was revived in 2003, according to IMDb. Notable celebs who appeared on the show include Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Alanis Morissette, Christina Aguilera, and Destiny's Child, to name just a few (via Rolling Stone).

As for tWitch, he made it all the way to the semi-finals in 2003. The dancer brought the funk as he performed to James Brown's rollicking hit "I Got the Feeling." And while tWitch didn't take home the big prize, he certainly made an impression. Oh, and bonus points to Arsenio Hall, who hosted the "Star Search" reboot, for enthusiastically introducing tWitch to viewers — talk about a throwback. 

He had a successful TV and film career

Stephen "tWitch" Boss was perhaps best known for his work on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," on which he appeared as a DJ, sidekick, dancer, and occasional host or co-host. But, in addition to his work on daytime television, tWitch had built up a career in film — and some of his roles (especially the earlier parts) might come as a surprise to you.

For starters, one of tWitch's earliest silver screen jobs was in the 2007 Will Ferrell and Jon Heder comedy "Blades of Glory," in which he appeared as an uncredited "Flamboyant Dancer" (via IMDb). He followed that up as "Maybelle's Store Dancer" in the John Travolta and Queen Latifah comedy "Hairspray" that same year. Then, in 2011, tWitch appeared as Dr. E in "The LXD: The Secrets of the Ra." After those smaller movie parts, tWitch danced his heart out in "Step Up Revolution," but perhaps his biggest movie to date was "Magic Mike XXL" alongside Channing Tatum and company as a gorgeous adult dancer. 

In a 2015 interview with Paste, tWitch revealed that acting had always been a dream of his, as well as something he considered to be a natural extension of dance. As he put it, "I definitely hoped [to become an actor]. That's what striving artists basically push for. It's a way that your art can sustain you and also thrive. I wanted to do movies and television since I was little."

Dancing was a form of communication for Stephen 'tWitch' Boss

Let's face it — dancing is a lot of fun for the majority of us, whether we're letting loose at a friend's wedding or kicking off our shoes at the club with our girlfriends. And, of course, it's obviously something that Stephen "tWitch" Boss thoroughly enjoyed and did often. But dance was more than just a fun activity for tWitch, who used movement as a form of genuine communication.

"While I'm not a ridiculous wordsmith and I can't clearly verbalize the things that I'm feeling sometimes, I'd say that I can emote how I feel by dancing, 100% of the time, and fearlessly at that," he mused in an interview with Collider.

He viewed dancing as something that transcends words and brings people together, as it's an art form that has evolved and developed for centuries. "It removes you from this construct of the world that you have, and it's a conversation that you're having with people," he continued. What a beautiful notion.

This is how Stephen 'tWitch' Boss met his wife

Fans of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" all know that Stephen "tWitch" Boss was married to fellow dancer Allison Holker. The pair first met during Season 2 of "So You Think You Can Dance," though they didn't connect until after Season 7. As Holker told it, tWitch was completely oblivious to her obvious interest. "I didn't just make one move — I made, like, 10 moves and he wasn't seeing them, so I had to put myself out there even more," she revealed to Dance Spirit. "I thought he was the cutest guy ever." Still, Holker was so smitten that she could barely talk to tWitch, which understandably contributed to the confusion.

It wasn't until the Season 7 wrap party for "So You Think You Can Dance" that tWitch and Holker finally connected after a series of false starts. "I saw him at the other end of the room, and he pointed and did this little 'come here' motion," she continued. "We went upstairs and danced for three hours straight." After that, the two finally acknowledged that there was something between them. Holker and tWitch got married in 2013, as noted by her Instagram page, and remained married until tWitch's death in 2022.

He was a loving father and stepfather

Like many couples, Stephen "tWitch" Boss and his wife, Allison Holker made the decision to have children. But, before that, Holker welcomed a daughter from her first marriage and was understandably cautious and protective of her when the pair started dating. Fortunately, Holker's older daughter and tWitch became fast friends when Holker eventually introduced them. "Their relationship is so beautiful, it makes me want to cry," she gushed in an interview with Dance Spirit. "She loves him so much, and he is such a good example of what a man should be."

Of becoming a stepfather, tWitch told L.A. Parent back in 2017, "It was a huge moment for me, but I was ready going into it. I had a stepfather myself, so I could relate to the situation. I see myself as an extra source of unconditional love."

Holker and tWitch would go on to have two children together, a son and a daughter. tWitch's and Holker's Instagram pages remain filled with wholesome family photos.

Despite the controversy, tWitch loved working on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

On July 16, 2020, BuzzFeed News published an explosive article, which was chock-full of allegations that the work environment of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" was toxic. Ten former employees and one current employee regaled the outlet with stories about being fired for taking sick days or attending funerals, being warned not to talk to Ellen DeGeneres, and even getting fed up with "comments about her race" and quitting. All in all, it was a damning report that framed DeGeneres' producers and managers as, well, rotten. 

While there was significant fallout from the alleged revelations, Stephen "tWitch" Boss wasn't part of the chorus of accusations. Instead, he defended "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in his own way. "You know, there hasn't been too many gigs where you feel it every day and build a genuine love from front to back," he told E! News. "And the audience, being so happy to be there and ready to dance and ready to laugh and have a good time." He added that working on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" has made him feel "blessed ... on a daily basis."

After The Ellen DeGeneres Show controversy, Stephen 'tWitch' Boss was promoted to producer

In the wake of the allegations made about "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" by BuzzFeed News, Ellen DeGeneres apologized to anyone whom she'd wronged. And, not surprisingly, big changes were made to the talk show, which included some staff housecleaning. That included the firings of executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, as reported by Variety.

In addition to the firings, however, was a significant hiring. Specifically, Stephen "tWitch" Boss was promoted to co-executive producer in a move that seemed extremely logical. After all, tWitch had been with the program for many years and arguably brought some much-needed diversity to the upper management team. According to an inside source, "The promotion will give the emcee more influence in both programming and the working culture." tWitch remained a producer on the show until its end in May 2022.

He was an outspoken activist

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, people took to the streets filled with outrage in the summer of 2020 (via The New York Times). As a Black man living in the United States, Stephen "tWitch" Boss was deeply impacted by these events and made a call for serious change. "These acts are products of a system that needs to be broken," he proclaimed in an Instagram post. "To be infiltrated. But it has to happen after the headlines calm down."

tWitch followed up this post with other social media posts, where he debunked the "all lives matter" response, shared anti-racist reading recommendations, supported Black-owned businesses, had important conversations about race, demanded justice for victims of police violence, and much more. He also joined the Black Lives Matter protests and instilled this activism in the next generation.

"What we're trying to drive in with our children is that the world should be a place of equality, love, acceptance and inclusion, and our daughter has a really great hold on that," he told Entertainment Tonight. "Hearing her speak about what's going on in the world and what she and her friends are discussing — their outlook and the way they talk makes us, as parents and even just as adults, very hopeful for the future."

In 2020, Stephen 'tWitch' Boss and his family started a successful TikTok channel

During the pandemic, the entire Boss family created a successful TikTok channel where they used dance and music to cheer up others. The family's channel was known for its heartwarming content that inspired countless families to love one another a little harder. In fact, they shared what will now be their final family video together only days before tWitch's death in December 2022.

As Parade has noted, tWitch was regarded as "one of the first kings of TikTok" and it's clear from his family videos that tWitch understood the platform from the beginning. In March 2021, he told Entertainment Tonight that the platform was essentially meant to be for the family. As he said, "Obviously, something like TikTok was like built for us. Because it was like, 'What? Dancing to music? Great!' We're doing that anyway, you know? So it really is just kind of sharing something that we do organically anyway."

tWitch became a judge on So You Think You Can Dance

Stephen "tWitch" Boss was a regular on television, with most fans remembering him for his time on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." However, he also participated as a judge on the reality series "So You Think You Can Dance" in 2022 following the conclusion of DeGeneres' talk show. The move was especially poignant as tWitch was a participant on the show back in 2004, finishing Season 4 as a runner-up and returning as part of the All-Stars (via People). In an interview with Paste, tWitch said that had he not succeeded on "So You Think You Can Dance" back in the early aughts, he believed that he would've joined the Navy.

Judges who worked on the show with tWitch were devastated by his death on December 14, 2022. As fellow judge Mary Murphy told the outlet, "It's really just taken us by surprise. And just once again, we're reminded sometimes of that sometimes you just can't see what's going on with someone. And this one seems to be harder than most."

Murphy also recalled the tWitch fought to earn his spot when competing on the series. As she explained, tWitch was told no three times before finally making it, and he ultimately earned a standing ovation for a solo that she described as "just mind-blowing to watch" (via People).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.