Rosy Cordero is the author of this article. At 5:08 p.m. EDT on May 28, 2021
Cameron Boyce had a particular bond with his grandmother, Jo Ann Boyce, 91, who was one of the first Black students in the South to attend an integrated high school, the Clinton Twelve, in 1956.
The Paradise City star opened up about the impact his nana had on his life in his final on-camera chat with costar Matt Pinfield, which EW has exclusively obtained. Boyce died of epileptic problems on July 6, 2019, at the age of 20.
On what would have been Cameron’s 22nd birthday, his proud parents, Libby and Victor Boyce, reflect on his life.
Cameron was particularly interested in civil rights and doing the right thing by others because of his grandmother’s perspective,” Victor, Cameron’s father and Jo Ann’s son, tells EW exclusively. “My mother’s stories struck a chord with him, especially because he is both Black and Jewish. His level of empathy was out of this world. Rather than moaning, “Poor me,” he opted to take action. My mother, as well as his other grandmother, encouraged him to act. He had a strong desire to be a crusader for good.”
Libby, Libby, Libby, Libby, Libby “Jo Ann Boyce is a truly unique individual who possesses the same magical touch that Cameron has. They had a very special bond that I can’t really put into words.”
The interview was conducted in support of his role as up-and-coming musician Simon Ostergaard in Paradise City, which would be his final on-screen performance. Cameron recalls meeting series creator Ash Avildsen before filming began and how the two of them had a similar hawk experience. A hawk also crossed the route of the actor’s mother shortly after his death.
Libby says, “That specific moment in the video really struck a chord with me.” “To be honest, I’m not particularly spiritual, but shortly after Cameron died, I went for a stroll in Franklin Canyon just to get some fresh air, and a hawk came down and swooped right over my head before continuing on. I was hiking with my brother and a spiritual friend, and they were like, ‘uh-huh.’ I had just broken down on the trail. So it made my hair stand up when I viewed the tape of this interview you’re providing. It made me a little uneasy.”
Victor adds, “Although I am not religious, I am spiritual. Cameron was extremely valuable, and he knew more about the universe than anyone I’d ever met. And he didn’t come out like that because of me or his mother. I’m not sure if that’s magic, but it’s certainly remarkable how he has had such a profound impact on people all around the world. Many of them he had never met before. I’ll never entirely comprehend it, but I respect it greatly.”
The Cameron Boyce Foundation, which focuses on stopping gun violence and curing epilepsy, is continuing to share part of Cameron’s magic with the world.
“We started the foundation just a few days after Cameron died because we couldn’t picture his work going away, and it was also a method for us to mourn,” Libby explains. “We’re working to cure epilepsy or, if that’s not possible, to accelerate treatment. We’re leveraging Cameron’s voice and platform as guardians of his legacy to raise awareness about epilepsy. Even though many individuals know someone who has epilepsy or has epilepsy themselves, we still don’t talk about it freely. Because of this, we do not believe the medical community is where it should be. As a result, our aim is to raise cash and raise awareness.”
Victor continues, “I wish the Cameron Boyce Foundation didn’t exist because Cameron would still be alive if it did. But, because this has happened and I can’t get away from reality, I’ve been put into a position I didn’t want, but it’s had an influence. It’s been incredible in that regard. I never expected to be a part of something that has such a profound impact on so many people’s lives. Libby and I have met so many other parents in our situation, and it’s a club I wish I didn’t belong to, but I do. As a result, our purpose is to turn something bad into something wonderful.”