Celebrity News April 24, 2023
Len Goodman, Former 'DWTS' Judge, Dies 3 Days Before His 79th Birthday
Sadly, beloved former "Dancing with the Stars" judge Len Goodman — who just retired from the show six months ago — has died at 78.
The esteemed dance expert died Saturday after a short battle with bone cancer, just three days shy of his 79th birthday. He had previously been treated for prostate cancer and a small facial melanoma.
Goodman's manager Jackie Gill broke the news to the BBC in a statement that read, ""It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78," Gill said in the statement shared with BBC News. "A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him."
Goodman died in Kent, England, in hospice. He was surrounded by family.
Famous in England as one of the judges of "Strictly Come Dancing" (2004-2016), Goodman's passing elicited a warm outpouring of condolences from the British press. The BBC's Tim Davie said, "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. Len was at the very heart of Strictly's success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family."
Goodman's colleague and close pal Bruno Tonioli tweeted, "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. there will never be anyone like you you will always be my perfect 10."
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 @BrunoTonioli
"Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba wrote on Instagram, "A Dancer. A teacher. A refined gentleman. A wonderful storyteller. A special soul. A mentor. A family man. And… A treasured friend. Saying goodbye at the end of last season broke my heart. But today’s news has shattered it all over again. I can’t believe that you’re gone. You were one of a kind my dear friend. And I will cherish our memories and hold them close, while I join so many others in mourning your loss. Thank you for all that you shared with us. Your humor, your wisdom, your wit and your truth. Until we meet again… Rest In Peace Len.”
Former “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron, who hosted from 2005-2019, reflected on Len's passing in a new interview with “Extra’s” Billy Bush. He remembered fondly how Len would “ratchet up the grouchy” for TV and shared the story of the first time he met Len, Bruno and Carrie Ann.
Derek Hough was "heart broken" by the news. He wrote, "It’s a gloomy morning here in Los Angeles which seems fitting after this heart breaking news. But when I think back at the memories we all shared with Len, his sense of humor, his smile and charm everything feels much brighter and full of sunshine. Still hard to fully process but filled with gratitude knowing I had the privilege of working beside this absolute legend. We will miss you dearly Len. We love you ❤️ Rest In Peace my friend."
Derek's younger Julianne, who was recently announced as a co-host, also took to Instagram to remember Len. She wrote, "From the time we met when I was 10 years old competing in London, to my first time on DWTS and feeling at home because of your familiar face and warm embrace. To the many 7’s (SeVUUUHN) that turned in to my first ever 10 I received from you. To all the rules I broke on the dance floor that you were stern about but then would see me back stage and tell me you loved it. To then have sat by your side as a judge, rather partner, for so many years creating so many inside jokes and memories in the ballroom and outside of the ballroom, was and will be a sacred part of my life that I’ll always cherish."
"The wisdom, playfulness, and class that radiated from you touched all of us with such impact. I’m forever grateful for the many years you influenced my past, present and future! What an honor it has been to have been a part of your wonderful life. You’re a legend and left a beautiful legacy," Julianne continued. "I love you forever. Sending all my love to your family and especially “your Sue” 🤍🕊️🕺."
Maksim Chmerkovskiy posted a video on Instagram, saying, "There's no Maksim Chmerkovskiy from 'Dancing with the Stars' without Len Goodman." He went on, "I am very sad with the passing of Len Goodman... Rest in peace Len Goodman. I love you, my friend."
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"Doing a live show you have to be at the top of your game and quick to react," Goodman told People upon his retirement. "And as one gets older, then things start to get more challenging. I haven't fallen asleep or started dribbling yet on the show, so I thought it's best to go before I start to do so!"
Goodman was born April 24, 1944, in Kent, growing up in East London. He was not attracted to dancing until the ripe old age of 19, when he took it up as a way to battle back from a foot injury.
He dove into the sport, competing professionally and winning, but retired after winning the British Championships at Blackpool when he was still in his 20s.
His work on BBC One's "Strictly Come Dancing" — alongside Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Arlene Phillips, to start — gained him national recognition. Appearing on the U.S. version, "Dancing with the Stars," from its inception in 2005, he, Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba came to be seen as the ultimate dance experts.
Goodman is survived by his second wife, Sue Barrett, to whom he had been wed for 11 years, and by his son James, from a previous relationship.