Legendary ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Judge Len Goodman Passes Away at 78 After Battle with Bone Cancer
Len Goodman, The former judge of the hit dance competition “Dancing With the Stars,” has passed away at the age of 78. The English dance expert, who was on the show from 2005 until last year, died on Saturday in a hospice in Kent, southern England, after a battle with bone cancer, his manager confirmed. “He was surrounded by his family,” said Jackie Gill, Goodman’s manager, in a statement to CNN on Monday.
Goodman was born in London in 1944 and began his dancing career at age 19. He was a professional dancer before transitioning to television. Goodman served as head judge on BBC’s dance series “Strictly Come Dancing,” the British version of DWTS, from its start in 2004 until his final appearance on the 2016 Christmas Day special. Shirley Ballas took over the role after his departure.
BBC director-general Tim Davie led the tributes, describing Goodman as a “wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions.” Davie added that Goodman “appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family. Len was at the very heart of Strictly’s success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family.”
Fellow “Dancing With the Stars” judge Bruno Tonioli shared a touching image of himself and Goodman embracing on Twitter, saying: “Heartbroken my dear friend and partner for 19 years, the only ballroom LEGEND #LenGoodman passed away I will treasure the memories of our adventures @bbcstrictly @officialdwts there will never be anyone like you you will always be my perfect 10.”
Apart from his TV career, Goodman also ran the Goodman Dance Academy in Kent, where he trained aspiring dancers. He was also an author, having penned several books, including his autobiography “Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom,” “Dancing Around Britain,” and “Lost London.”
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