Len Goodman, beloved ex-‘Dancing with the Stars’ judge, dies at 78

RELATED: Len Goodman honoured with mirror ball at "DWTS" Finale

Former Dancing with the Stars head judge Len Goodman has died. He was 78.

News of Goodman’s death was confirmed by his manager, Jackie Gill, in a statement released Monday morning.

“It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” Gill said. “A much-loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”

Goodman, who had bone cancer, died in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, surrounded by his family.

Appearing on DWTS from 2005 until 2022, Goodman was often credited with reigniting global interest in ballroom dancing through his work on various popular competition shows. He also served as a judge on the British version of the show, Strictly Come Dancing, from 2004 to 2016.

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Goodman, a former title-winning ballroom dancer, won the affections of viewers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean with his witty comments and Cockney accent. “You floated across that floor like butter on a crumpet,” he remarked after one foxtrot. He praised a salsa-dancing couple as “like two sizzling sausages on a barbecue.”

Goodman announced his retirement from DWTS last year, after serving on the judge’s panel for 31 seasons. During his last appearance on the show, Goodman received a standing ovation from the in-house audience.

In his lifetime, he also presented BBC radio programs and made TV documentaries, including a 2012 program about the sinking of the Titanic. (As a young man, Goodman worked as a shipyard welder for the company that had built the doomed ship.)

He also owned the Goodman Academy dance school in southern England.

Buckingham Palace said Camilla, the queen consort, was “saddened to hear” of Goodman’s death. The wife of King Charles III is a fan of Strictly and danced with Goodman at a 2019 event celebrating the British Dance Council.

Camilla, then-Duchess of Cornwall, dances with Len Goodman during a dance performance organized by the British Dance Council in association with The Royal Osteoporosis Society at Carisbrooke Hall on Sept. 5, 2019, in London, England. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman said Goodman was “a great entertainer” who would be “missed by many.”

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Social media tributes to the lionized dance judge have also poured in online.

English broadcaster and TV personality Piers Morgan shared a photo of him and Goodman dancing together hand in hand.

“Always had a laugh with Len, and swapped a few strong opinions,” Morgan wrote. “A quintessential Londoner and a top bloke.”

Bruno Tonioli, who was a judge alongside Goodman on DWTS, said Goodman would “always be my perfect 10,” a nod to Goodman’s signature “10 from Len” judging catchphrase.

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Darcey Bussell, a former Strictly Come Dancing judge, said Goodman “gave me such support on my time at Strictly.

“I feel so lucky to have worked with such a professional, funny loveable man,” she wrote.

British TV personality Robert Rinder called Goodman “a rare gentleman: Kind, charming, exacting, encouraging & danced like a dream.”

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Craig Revel Horwood, also a former Strictly Come Dancing judge, sent love to Goodman’s wife and family.

With files from The Associated Press


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