Len Goodman, Former ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Judge, Dies at 78

The British entertainer also known for “Strictly Come Dancing” on the BBC retired from television last year to spend more time with his family

Dancing With the Stars judge Len Goodman
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Len Goodman, the former head judge of ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars,” has died at age 78.

Goodman’s manager Jackie Gill confirmed the news in a statement to the BBC.

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

According to the outlet, Goodman died on Saturday at a hospice in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, surrounded by his family. He had bone cancer.

Goodman, a former professional dancer, appeared on “DWTS” as a judge from 2005 until 2022. In November, Goodman said he was exiting the competition series to “spend more time with my grandchildren and my family back in Britain.”

“I cannot thank you enough, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ family,” he added at the time. “It’s been such a wonderful experience for me.”

In their own statement on his death, “DWTS” posted to Instagram, writing, “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. We are devastated by the news of his passing and our hearts are with his family during this very difficult time.”

Goodman was also featured as a head judge on BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing” from its launch in 2004 until 2016.

“Heart broken my dear friend and partner for 19 years the one and only ballroom LEGEND #LenGoodman passed away,” DWTS judge Bruno Tonioli tweeted. “I will treasure the memories of our adventures @bbcstrictly @officialdwts there will never be anyone like you you will always be my perfect 10.”

“I’ve just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away. My heart and love go out to his lovely Sue and family,” Strictly’s longest-serving judge, Craig Revel Horwood tweeted. “Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him and ‘It’s a ten from Len & seveeeeern’ will live with me forever. RIP Len.”

“Len was an absolute legend & the definition of a proper gent,” former “Strictly” contestant Susanna Reid wrote. “He was a beautiful man with a huge sense of humour who had such a mischievous turn of phrase. I’ll never forget ‘all bounce, bum & bongos.’ My love to his family.”

“The wonderful Len Goodman has left us. He was so kind and lovely to me when I was on @bbcstrictly and we met on other programmes including his own filmed at BBC Glasgow,” “Strictly” contestant Russell Grant wrote. “The word legend is overused but Len and his ‘SEVEN’ became a catchphrase across UK & USA. A true character.”

“So very sad to hear the news today of the passing of our Len Goodman. A beautiful man, genuine, warm and humble, who left an impression on everyone he met. I’ll never forget the fun we had on set, his love and passion for dancing and that wonderfully cheeky smile lit up the screen,” “Strictly” co-host Tess Daly wrote on Instagram. “You were never a 7 for me, Len you were always a 10. My sincere condolences to Sue and all the family. Rest in peace Len.”

“Len Goodman was a wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions. He appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family,” BBC Director-General Tim Davies said in a statement. “Len was at the very heart of Strictly’s success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family.”