Len Goodman, Fan Favorite Dancing With The Stars Judge, Dead At 78

Len Goodman, known for judging the dance competition shows Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing, has passed away at the age of 78.

By Lyndon Nicholas | Updated

dancing with the stars len goodman

Many celebrities from Euphoria’s Zendaya to Will Smith’s The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s co-star Alfonso Ribeiro have wowed audiences with their moves on the hit dance competition series Dancing with the Stars. Now, audiences are stunned for a different, more unfortunate reason. According to a Deadline article, beloved Dancing with the Stars judge Len Goodman has passed away.

In a statement released by his agent, Len Goodman “died peacefully, surrounded by his family.” BBC Director General Tim Davie called Goodman a “wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions,” before adding, “He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family.” Craig Revel Horwood, a fellow judge on Strictly Come Dancing wrote of his passing, calling him a “gorgeous colleague,” while BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker called him “an incredible man and an extraordinary talent.”

Len Goodman passed away at the age of 78 from bone cancer in a hospice in Royal Tunbridge Wells, on 22 April 2023. It was just three days before what would have been his 79th birthday. Goodman is survived by his wife Sue Barrett and son James.

Len Goodman was a former professional dancer who may have been best known by American audiences for his work as a star judge on the hit television series Dancing With the Stars. Born in London in 1944, Goodman began his dance career in his late teens as a ballroom dancer after spending time as an apprentice welder. He quickly gained acclaim as a talented performer and choreographer, winning numerous awards in the field.

Although American audiences might recognize him from Dancing with the Stars, it was not his first time as a judge on reality television. In 2004, Goodman became a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, a BBC dancing competition series. Goodman would remain a popular judge on the BBC series from 2004 until 2016, when he was replaced by Shirley Ballas.

dancing with the stars len goodman

Strictly Come Dancing actually inspired its U.S. counterpart, Dancing with the Stars, which Goodman would go on the head judge simultaneously with his work on Strictly Come Dancing starting with its debut in 2005. He maintained his head judge role until last year, when he decided to retire and spend more quality time with his family in the UK.

Len Goodman became a beloved judge on both television shows and had a reputation for offering constructive criticism in a way that was tough but fair. He endeared himself to audiences with a number of signature phrases, including ‘It’s a ten from Len!’ and ‘Three words: fab-u-lous.’

 Because of his experience in the field, he was well-respected by both contestants and his peers in the industry and someone whose knowledge and notoriety were unmatched. With a keen interest in ballroom and Latin dance, Len Goodman would bring these dance styles back into the mainstream by showcasing them on the series in contemporary and accessible ways that appealed to a modern audience.

Outside of his judge role on Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars, Goodman appeared in television specials like Len Goodman’s Dance Band Days, Len Goodman’s Perfect Christmas on the BBC, Len and Ainsley’s Big Food Adventure alongside chef Ainsley Harriott, the family game show Partners in Rhyme, among others. He also voiced Professor in the five-time Emmy award-winning animated children’s program, Auto-B-Good.

Goodman’s impact on the industry cannot be overstated. His warmth, banter, and expertise will be deeply missed by friends, family, colleagues, and fans around the world.