By Isaac Espinosa
On June 9th of this year, voice actor Billy P. Kametz unfortunately passed away at the age of 35. Born on March 22nd of 1987, Kametz was known for numerous voices throughout video games and anime. His roles include wonderful characters such as Ferdinand Von Aegir from Fire Emblem Three Houses, Maruki Takoto from Persona 5 Royal, Josuke Higashikata from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4, and many more. Like others, I was deeply affected by his unfortunate passing, and I hope this article will serve to illustrate how much of an impact Kametz had on the communities he touched.
One important thing to understand about Billy Kametz was just how inspiring and kind he was, both as an actor and as a person. According to the GoFundMe page that was originally meant for raising funds for Kametz’ treatment, “Billy had dreamed of becoming an actor since his early childhood. He got his break with Disney as part of the entertainment staff on the Disney cruise line and later moved to California when he was offered the role of Aladdin in Disneyland’s Musical Spectacular. His love for his work as an actor and unforgettable voice will continue to entertain fans and always be remembered.” This vibrant energy and passion was evident in all the roles Kametz undertook. Instantly recognizable line deliveries such as his signature “I am Ferdinand Von Aegir” showed just how much Kametz loved to put on a show for the audience. It’s also important not to understate how much the support of his audience meant to Kametz.
On April 26th, Kametz posted a video on his Instagram, informing the internet that he had stage 4 colon cancer, but that he was determined to make it through the ordeal. As he said near the end of the update, “I’m just gonna go home, put California and uh, work-life on hold for a bit, and I’ll just kick this thing’s butt. And we’ll be back! And then, keep kicking butts.” That optimism continued for Kametz, and throughout the month of May, it seemed as though he was going to recover. His vibrance and energy continued to shine, even with his condition putting a halt to any work Kametz had planned. So you can imagine the sheer shock and despair that washed over the community when news of his passing was posted to his GoFundMe page on June 9th. It was something that his fans weren’t ready for at all, especially since only a month before, it appeared that Kametz would be perfectly fine.
In order to gain some insight into how this affected Kametz’s fans, I interviewed Winter Peyton, a Trans Female aspiring voice actress and a very close friend of mine, about her relationship to Kametz’s work, and how she was affected by his passing. “Well, while he was still with us, he made such a positive impact on so many people,” she said. “And I saw so many stories in the days after his passing, about the… All the wonderful experiences people had with him. How kind he was to everyone. It was just… You know, it felt like I was losing someone important to me too.” From our conversation, it was very clear to me that even if Kametz’ passing left people to grieve for the person they lost, it also allowed them to remember all he contributed to his friends, his family and his community.
Because Kametz was so young when he passed, I feel it’s very important to write about this next point: Leaving a legacy behind doesn’t necessarily mean changing the world, or making sure that you aren’t forgotten. It can simply mean being the best person you can be, so that you’re a positive influence on those around you. That way, by the time you leave this world for your eternal resting place, your legacy won’t be your materialistic achievements. Rather, what will live on after you is the way you’ve inspired others. Rest in peace, Billy Kametz. You will be dearly missed.
Bronx native Isaac Espinosa is a senior intern at the New York Videogame Critics Circle. Isaac was named the Circle’s first assistant mentor. He also published his first story in The Verge. You can also find Winter’s work at @the_wintermelon on Twitter.