“He appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family,” BBC director general Tim Davie said.
Len Goodman, a judge on the show Dancing With the Stars ever since the program's beginning, passed away, his manager announced on April 24, per TODAY. He was 78 years old. “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” Goodman's manager Jackie Gill said in a statement. “A much-loved husband, father, and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends, and all who knew him.” Goodman had bone cancer and passed away on April 22 in an English hospice, per Variety. He is survived by his wife Sue Barrett and James William Goodman, a son from a previous relationship.
A very sad day for me and all Strictly fans.— Tommy Blaize (@TommyBlaize) April 24, 2023
The world has lost a true gentleman.
Len Goodman you are a legend. I will sincerely miss you. Always kind to everyone especially the band and singers.
Love to Sue and family❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/l2Ns1zQq1d
Goodman was renowned for not sugarcoating his criticisms and for speaking the truth with love. From 2004 to 2016, he was the show's chief judge on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing in Britain. He was an integral member of Dancing With the Stars from its debut in 2005 to 2022, and American fans were familiar with him as such. He had declared that the 31st season of the show would be his last in November 2022. “It has been a huge pleasure to be part of such a wonderful show,” he said while noting he wanted to spend more time with his family in Britain. “I cannot thank you enough, the Dancing With the Stars family. It’s been such a wonderful experience for me.”
Len Goodman will always be an icon in the world of ballroom dance, and we were lucky to have him as part of our ‘Dancing with the Stars’ family for 31 seasons. He was warm and caring, and always delivered genuine guidance. pic.twitter.com/NWxHMD9e7q— Dancing with the Stars #DWTS (@officialdwts) April 24, 2023
After he announced his retirement from the show, host Tyra Banks referred to him as "a living legend". Banks added, “You’ve inspired generations of dancers around the entire globe through your passion, through your expertise, and through your laser-focused eye and they are going to carry on that commitment of excellence forever.”
Goodman expressed his amazement at how he ended up being a part of the series during the series finale. “I got the call to be a judge three days before the first show. Little Len! Who am I? I’m just a dance teacher from Dartford,” he said. “Suddenly, I’m thrust into Hollywood ... I got the reputation as being the tough judge, because what I see is what I say.”
A fitting tribute to the wonderful Len Goodman 🧡 pic.twitter.com/61mlWwNkKc— BBC The One Show (@BBCTheOneShow) April 24, 2023
Just minutes after the public broadcaster initially reported Goodman's passing, the BBC issued a statement in which director general Tim Davie referred to him as a "wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions."
“He appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family,” said Davie. “Len was at the very heart of ‘Strictly’s’ success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family.”
In a statement, ABC called Goodman an “icon” in the world of ballroom dance. “We were lucky to have him as part of our Dancing with the Stars family for 31 seasons. He was warm and caring, and always delivered genuine guidance,” said the broadcaster. “We are devastated by the news of his passing and our hearts are with his family during this very difficult time.”
Hart broken my dear friend and partner for 19 years the one and 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 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/M5qnHedx5S— Bruno Tonioli (@BrunoTonioli) April 24, 2023
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Vince Bucci