Saying goodbye to the face of ‘Dancing with the Stars’


Photo used with permission from Wikimedia Commons/alotofmillion

Pictured above is the well-known lead judge; Len Goodman of the American TV show “Dancing with the Stars.”

Kinley Freese, Staff Writer

On April 24, 2023 the news broke that the former “Dancing with the Stars (DWTS)” lead judge, Len Goodman had passed away. Goodman was the face of ballroom dancing for 17 years as he was the lead judge on the popular television show, “Dancing with the Stars.” He was well-known for his quick, witty comments and remarks. Goodman was an English professional ballroom judge, dancer and coach. He also spent 12 years judging a ballroom dancing competition in the UK called “Strictly Come Dancing” where celebrity contestants competed for a glitter ball trophy similar to “DWTS” in the U.S. While judging, he would have to “criss-cross” the Atlantic weekly to fulfill both duties in the two countries.

Goodman started dancing at the late age of 19 after a doctor referred him start dancing as physical therapy for a foot injury. Goodman turned professional after discovering his passion for dancing and would go on to win multiple ballroom dancing competitions and win the British Championships in Blackpool. Goodman was very widely remembered for his eccentric observations and similes while judging ballroom dancing. His vocal delivery could not be missed on the shows he judged, his strong British accent made him the lead of the show and he knew how to conduct a reaction from an audience. 

In Nov. 2022, Goodman announced that he would be leaving “DWTS.” He was diagnosed with bone cancer and wanted to spend more time with his family, specifically his growing grandchildren. The “DWTS” community was hit with a wave of shock on April 22, 2023 when news that the beloved judge had passed. 

“It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” announced Goodman’s manager Jackie Gill. 

Many celebrities came to interact with the bright personality of Goodman, and many have said that with his kindness he has left a lasting impression.

“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 will always cherish,” said Julianne Hough, Goodman’s fellow DWTS judge.  

Goodman’s impact on ballroom dancing and professional dancing on TV will never be forgotten.