Len Goodman, Head Judge On “Dancing With The Stars,” Has Died At 78

April 24, 2023 / Posted by:

The angels in heaven better prepare to be judged on how graceful they lengthen their arms as they glide above the clouds because they’ve got a master in movements of elegance in their midst! Len Goodman, the former head judge on Strictly Come Dancing and its American version, Dancing with the Stars, has died. He was 78.

Len Goodman’s rep, Jackie Gill, said in a statement that he died on Saturday at a hospice in Kent, England, after a fight with bone cancer. Len’s family was with him when he elegantly waltzed to the great big ballroom in the sky. via People:

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

Len Goodman was born on April 25, 1944 in Farnborough, Kent. You could say that Len Goodman was the original Alex Owens from Flashdance. Because before Len sashayed across dance floors and judged people sashaying across dance floors, he was a welder. When he was 19, he started taking dance lessons on his doctor’s recommendation as physical therapy for a foot injury. Those lessons obviously unlocked the exquisite swan in Len, and DANCE began running through his veins. He followed his calling by becoming a professional ballroom dancer.

During his twenties, Len picked up trophy after trophy while competing on the ballroom dancing circuit. He retired from competing in his late-20s and switched to teaching ballroom dancing. His reality show judge career started in the early aughts on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing. For 14 seasons from 2004 to 2016, Len judged famous and famou-ish types on Strictly Come Dancing and regularly served up words of critical poetry like, “It was like watching a stork who had been struck by lightning.” The show made Len a household name in the UK. And Strictly Come Dancing’s American version, Dancing with the Stars, made Len Goodman a household name in the US.

He was head judge on Dancing with the Stars when it debuted on ABC in 2005. Alongside his fellow judges, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonolio, Len judged the ballroom skills of celebrities, has-beens, never-wases, and CHARO!!! for 31 seasons (although, later on in his judging run, he took a couple of breaks from the show). At its peak, DWTS was the third-most-watched show in the country. Len retired from the show last year.

Len Goodman married his ballroom dancing partner Cherry Kingston in 1972, and they later divorced. In 1981, Len and his then-girlfriend, a woman named Lesley, welcomed a son, James William Goodman. Len married his second wife, Sue Barrett, in 2012, and she was with him when he died.

The tributes to Len Goodman have been coming in from those who knew, worked with, and loved him:

Rest in peace, Len Goodman.

Pic: Christopher Willard/ABC

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