Len Goodman: Ex-Strictly Head Judge Dies at 78


Len Goodman, the former head judge of Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing With the Stars, has passed away at the age of 78 after battling bone cancer. His manager, Jackie Gill, confirmed his death on Monday, stating that Goodman died peacefully at a hospice in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, surrounded by his family. The news of his death has sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry, with many paying tribute to the much-loved and respected dance professional.

Goodman was a fixture on Strictly from its launch in 2004 until 2016 and was known for his wry humor and avuncular critiques. His enthusiastic delivery when awarding contestants a score of seven points effectively turned the number into his catchphrase.

Fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood paid tribute to Goodman, calling him a “gorgeous colleague and dear friend” and referencing his showmanship. “Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him and ‘It’s a ten from Len & seveeeeern’ will live with me forever,” he added.

Former contestant Susanna Reid spoke of her shock and sadness at the news of Goodman’s passing, describing him as “an absolute legend and the definition of a proper gent. He was a beautiful man with a huge sense of humor who had such a mischievous turn of phrase.” She recalled the time he described her Samba as being “all bounce, bum and bongos,” a comment she said she would never forget.

Goodman was not only a beloved judge but also an accomplished dancer, having won the British Championships in his late 20s. He retired from competitive dancing to become a professional judge, teacher, and choreographer. His contributions to dance were recognized with the Carl Alan Award, and he owned a dance school, the Goodman Academy, in Dartford, Kent.

Goodman’s impact on the entertainment industry was felt far and wide, with many paying tribute to his warmth, humor, and kindness. BBC director-general Tim Davie praised him as a “wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions” and added that “Len was at the very heart of Strictly’s success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family.”

Russell Grant, a former Strictly contestant, paid tribute to Goodman on Twitter, calling him a true character and a legend. Boxing star Frank Bruno also expressed his sadness at Goodman’s passing, saying that he had met him several times and that he was shocked by the news.

Credit: Getty Images

Goodman’s legacy will live on through his contributions to dance and entertainment. His humor, warmth, and kind spirit will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Rest in peace, Len Goodman.