Libby Boyce, the mom of Cameron Boyce, the Disney Channel star who died at the age of 20, is a social worker who inspired her son with her work on skid row and with homeless people.
Boyce, who was biracial, was the son of an African/Caribbean father, Victor Boyce, and Jewish mother, Libby Boyce (whose full name is Elizabeth Boyce.) He also has a teenage sister named Maya. Cameron Boyce appeared to be very close to his family and his mom. Boyce, who starred on Disney’s shows Descendants and Jessie, died of a seizure in his sleep, news that broke in the early morning hours of July 7, 2019.
In 2013, Cameron Boyce wrote on Twitter: “Proud of my momma Libby Boyce, who’s in DC at #naeh13 talking about ending homelessness in LA. #ItsTime #Proud.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cameron Boyce Called His Mother ‘the Axis’ His World Revolved Around
Only four weeks ago, Boyce posted a screenshot that showed him facetiming his mother and father in a tribute post to his mom for her birthday.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA! You’re the axis my ? revolves around, love you infinitely,” he wrote. On Facebook, Libby Boyce, who frequently posted photos of her children, wrote that she lives in Los Angeles, California and is from New Haven, Connecticut.
In 2018, he posted another birthday tribute to his mother, writing, “I would out run this cheetah if it meant I got to keep you as my Mom. Happy birthday to the greatest gift in my life and thank you for everything in these past few days. I miss you and I can’t wait to see you soon. I love you!”
The actor Adam Sandler, who starred with Boyce in the 2010 movie Grown Ups, referenced Boyce’s family in a tribute post. Sandler wrote: “Too young. Too sweet. Too funny.”
“Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent kid around. Loved that kid. Cared so much about his family. Cared so much about the world. Thank you, Cameron, for all you gave to us. So much more was on the way. All our hearts are broken. Thinking of your amazing family and sending our deepest condolences.”
2. Boyce’s Mother Worked on Skid Row as a Social Worker During the AIDS Epidemic & She Works With Homeless People
In an interview with the publication Dazed, Boyce also discussed his mother and her early work helping people. “My mum was a social worker in health when the AIDS epidemic hit, and now she’s doing homeless coordinating and managing teams on Skid Row,” he told Dazed, explaining why he felt it was important to be a role model for other youths.
To Raw, he said of his mom: “…my mom, there are too many I can’t even. The best advice my mom probably gave me would just be to take the good from certain scenarios. Recognize the bad and do your best to cut it out, and then take whatever good you feel from, whether it’s a person or a scenario, and run with that as opposed to the negative.”
A speaker bio sheet described Boyce’s mom as “Elizabeth Boyce, LCSW, Director, Access, Referral & Engagement, LA County – DHS, Housing For Health.”
“Libby Boyce is the Director of Access, Referral and Engagement for the Housing for Health Program within the Department of Health Services (DHS),” the bio reads.
“In her role, she oversees the intake, triage, and follow-up of all permanent supportive housing referrals and placements within the department. In addition, she is responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing street-based engagement activities on behalf of DHS in collaboration with other County departments. Prior to her current position, Libby Boyce was the Homeless Coordinator for the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office. In this role, Ms. Boyce advised the Board of Supervisors on all homeless related policy, planning and programmatic issues that impact the County. She facilitated several County interdepartmental efforts to develop and implement more permanent housing and corresponding supportive services. Libby led several processes that have resulted in collaborative models of care that address homeless families, single adults and youth. Libby got her MSW in 1989 from Southern Connecticut State University and has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 1993. Libby spent the first 20 years of her career working with and for people living with HIV/AIDS.”
Libby Boyce described the homeless problem in an interview with ContagionLive.
“There has been a significant increase in rental costs over the past few years partnered with a very low vacancy rate in the rental market. There is a lot of new development occurring, which is pushing long-time renters and/or lower-income renters out of the market,” she said.
“People who earn minimum wage cannot afford an apartment in LA, and there are not enough affordable housing opportunities. It is important to note that even with the increase in the homeless count, we housed 21,631 homeless individuals in 2018, which speaks to how detrimental these factors have been become for vulnerable populations in Los Angeles County. The solution to homelessness is affordable housing with access to health, mental health, substance use, and/or other supportive services. Los Angeles County, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, has built an infrastructure that offers these solutions; they just need to be expanded. In addition, we need to introduce and support legislation and changes in regulations that protect renters, control rent increases, and/or incentivize the development of affordable housing…”
3. Cameron Boyce’s Family Released a Statement Saying They Were ‘Utterly Heartbroken’ by Cameron’s Tragic Loss
Cameron Boyce’s family confirmed the sad news of his death to ABC News. “We are utterly heartbroken and ask for privacy during this immensely difficult time as we grieve the loss of our precious son and brother,” a family spokesperson said Saturday to the network.
According to The Blast, Cameron Boyce died of a seizure from what was described as an ongoing illness. It not clear what that illness was, however.
The illness was not disclosed. “The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him,” his family told ABC. The Blast reported that, according to Boyce’s family, he “passed away in his sleep due to a seizure which was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated.” The family statement to The Blast continued: “It is with a profoundly heavy heart that we report that this morning we lost Cameron.”
4. Boyce Explained That His Mother Is of Jewish Descent When He Visited the Anne Frank House With Her
Cameron Boyce has spoken in interviews about his Jewish heritage through his mother’s side. On Instagram, Cameron Boyce talked about going to the Anne Frank house with his mom, Libby Boyce, writing, “Hard to find words to describe the feeling of walking through the Secret Annex… and to be able to experience that with my Mom of Jewish descent. Simply put, thank you Anne Frank.”
In a statement to ABC News, the Disney Channel also mourned Cameron Boyce, saying, “From a young age, Cameron Boyce dreamed of sharing his extraordinary artistic talents with the world. As a young man, he was fueled by a strong desire to make a difference in peoples’ lives through his humanitarian work. He was an incredibly talented performer, a remarkably caring and thoughtful person and, above all else, he was a loving and dedicated son, brother, grandson and friend.”
“We offer our deepest condolences to his family, cast mates and colleagues and join his many millions of fans in grieving his untimely passing. He will be dearly missed.”
5. Boyce, Who Was Born & Raised in Los Angeles, Described Himself as ‘Bl-ewish’
According to his Disney Channel bio, Cameron Boyce was “born and raised in Los Angeles, California.”
Boyce discussed his ethnicity to Raw. He’s black and Caribbean in heritage on his dad’s side, as well as being Jewish o his mother’s.
“Oh man. Your guess is as good as mine,” he said. “I’m a lot of different European. I know my grandfather is from the Caribbean. And my grandmother is… You know, I’m sure they both have lineage in Africa because I’m black. I like to say that I’m bl-ewish, I’m black and I’m Jewish. So you know, me and Drake, we got that in common.”
Boyce could be heard voicing the character of Jake on the Disney Junior animated show, “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” According to ABC News, Boyce made his showbiz debut at the tender age of 9 in a horror movie called Mirrors. He also acted with Adam Sandler in the movie Grown Ups before moving on to Disney Channel fame.
On the Disney show Jessie, he played Luke Ross.