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Former ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Judge Len Goodman Dies at 78

Len Goodman, a renowned ballroom champion and a longtime judge on Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars, passed away at the age of 78 from bone cancer. According to his agent Jackie Gill, Goodman passed away quietly and surrounded by family on Saturday in a hospice in Kent, England. Goodman leaves behind a wife, a son, and two grandchildren.

“Len Goodman was a wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions… and felt like a member of everyone’s family,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement. “The public, as well as his numerous friends and family, will greatly miss him.” Ballroom dancing was Goodman’s first professional gig. After winning the British Championships in the 1970s, he began dancing at the age of 19 and eventually retired in his late 20s to start a dance studio.

A few decades later, he found his way to television and achieved renown all over the world. Goodman served as the chief judge on both DWTS (from 2005 until 2022) and the BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing” (from 2004 to 2016). He judged the British and American shows concurrently for several years, “crisscrossing the Atlantic weekly,” according to the Associated Press.

Additionally, Goodman was the author of several books, including his 2009 memoir, Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom, and he received the Carl Alan Award, known as the “Oscars of the dance world” for his remarkable contributions to dance. At the conclusion of season 31 (he has participated as a judge in all but two of them), Goodman announced his departure from DWTS in November last year.

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He claimed he wished he could spend more time in Britain with his family and grandchildren. When doing a live event, you must be on your game and quick to respond. And as one gets older, things start to get more difficult,” he later told People magazine. “I figured it’s best to leave before I start dozing off or dribbling on the show,” the actor said.

Goodman said he will spend some of his retirement siftings through old DVDs to revisit his favorite moments from previous seasons. I cannot express my gratitude to everyone who helped me along the way for my fantastic run of luck, he remarked.

Goodman rose to fame in his later years

Goodman was raised in the East End of London and spent his formative years working at his father’s fruit and vegetable stall and then as a welder in the London Docks (“and being bathed at night in the same water they used to cook the beetroot,” according to his memoirs).

Goodman’s foot injury ended his aspirations of playing professional soccer, but it also got him interested in ballroom dancing after his doctor advised him to try it as part of his recovery. During his almost ten years as a professional dancer, Goodman won numerous championships with Cherry Kingston, his partner before they got married in 1987 (they later separated; in 2012, he wed dance instructor Sue Barrett).

However, he didn’t become well-known until he was in his 60s and began serving as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing and DWTS. British presenter Esther Rantzen told PA Media, “I think he was astonished and delighted by what had happened to him at an age when dancers retire or have long retired.” “I believe it really made him happy that ballroom dancing had once again captured the nation’s heart,” says one observer.

According to Rantzen, Goodman’s success in the United States may have been partly attributed to the fact that “he was quintessentially British: firm but fair, funny but a gentleman.” Goodman gained notoriety for his colorful criticism and distinctive delivery, which included catchphrases like “pickle me walnuts” and his trademark score announcements of “seven” and, on rare occasions, “it’s a 10 from Len.”

According to the AP and BBC, some of his most memorable quotes include comparing one contestant to “a stork who’d been struck by lightning” and another to a chess master: “You plotted your way around that floor.” He also compared a salsa-dancing couple to “like two sizzling sausages on a barbecue.” What a mango of a tango that was.

Costars remember Goodman as a gentleman

On Monday, the British prime minister and royal family expressed their sympathies, according to the BBC. Goodman was referred to as “a great entertainer, a familiar face on TV screens across the country” by a spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. According to Buckingham Palace, Camilla, a show enthusiast who performed a dance routine with Goodman at a 2019 event, was “saddened to hear the news.”

Colleagues and followers of Goodman are also leaving condolences, remembering him for his wit, friendliness, and integrity. He was referred to as “A Dancer” in a collage of images and videos that DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba posted on Instagram. a professor. a gentlemanly man. an excellent storyteller. a unique soul. a guide. guy of the home. Additionally, a dear friend.

“It broke my heart to say goodbye at the end of last season,” she wrote. But the news from today has completely destroyed it. I find it hard to believe you’re gone. As a judge for both competitions, Bruno Tonioli referred to Goodman as his “dear friend and partner for 19 years, the one and only ballroom legend.”

He expressed his sorrow over the passing in a post on Instagram, saying that he would “treasure the memory of our incredible adventures and hundreds of shows we did together.” The host of Strictly Come Dancing, Claudia Winkleman, called him “a unique, brilliant, and kind man.” Full of warmth, wit, and charm.

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Craig Revel Horwood, a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, wrote, “Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him, and ‘It’s a 10 from Len & Seeeeern’ will live with me forever. A former professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing named Kristina Rihanoff tweeted that Goodman would always be her favorite judge and described him as an “honest & witty person with integrity & respect for us — fellow dancers.”

television personality from Britain Goodman was referred to by Robert Rinder as “a rare gentleman: Kind, charming, exacting, encouraging & danced like a dream.” “RIP Len Goodman,” he concluded. “From all of us, it’s a 10.”


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