LONDON (AP) — Len Goodman, the urbane, long-serving judge on “Dancing with the Stars” and “Strictly Come Dancing,” has died, his agent said Monday. He was 78.
Agent Jackie Gill said Goodman “passed away peacefully." He had been diagnosed with bone cancer.
A former professional ballroom dancer and British champion, Goodman was a judge on “Strictly Come Dancing” for 12 years from its launch on the BBC in 2004. The dance competition, which pairs celebrities with professional dance partners, was a surprise hit and has become one of the network’s most popular shows.
Goodman was head judge on the U.S. version of the show, ABC's “Dancing With the Stars,” for 15 years until his retirement in November. For several years he
Goodman also presented BBC radio programs and made TV documentaries, including a 2012 program about the sinking of the Titanic. As a young man, Goodman had worked as a shipyard welder for the company that built the doomed ship.
BBC director-general Tim Davie said 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 was also a recipient of the Carl Alan Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to dance, and owned the Goodman Academy dance school in southern England.