Len Goodman, a prominent judge on the TV shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “Strictly Come Dancing,” has passed away at the age of 78, according to his agent Jackie Gill. Gill reported that Goodman died peacefully on Saturday evening after being diagnosed with bone cancer. Goodman’s contributions to the renewed interest in ballroom dancing on both sides of the Atlantic will be remembered.
After being a professional ballroom dancer and British champion, Goodman became the head judge for “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2004, a show that partners celebrities with professional dancers. It turned out to be a surprising success and has become one of BBC’s most viewed programs. With his witty comments in a Cockney accent, Goodman won the audience’s hearts. For instance, he compared a foxtrot performance to a “butter on a crumpet” and commended a salsa-dancing duo as “two sizzling sausages on a barbecue.”
Goodman served as the head judge on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” for 15 years until his retirement in November. During several autumns, he judged both the British and American versions of the show each week, traveling frequently across the Atlantic.After hearing of Goodman’s passing, Buckingham Palace announced that Camilla, the queen consort, was saddened by the news. Camilla is a fan of “Strictly” and had the opportunity to dance with Goodman at a 2019 event honoring the British Dance Council.
According to a spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the late broadcaster Len Goodman was a beloved entertainer and will be missed by many. Renowned British television presenter Esther Rantzen expressed that Goodman had been surprised and pleased with his success in the later years of his life. Rantzen added that Goodman’s success in the United States was due in part to his quintessentially British qualities of being both strict but fair, humorous yet polite, and she hopes that the UK will adopt Goodman’s famous catchphrase “pickle me walnuts.”
Len Goodman was not just a judge on Strictly Come Dancing but also a presenter on BBC radio and TV documentaries. He even made a program about the sinking of the Titanic in 2012. Interestingly, in his younger days, Goodman worked as a shipyard welder for the company that constructed the ill-fated ship. BBC director-general Tim Davie praised Goodman for being a beloved and charming entertainer who had a universal appeal across all age groups. He added that Goodman was a vital part of Strictly’s success and would be sorely missed by the public and his loved ones. Apart from his TV work, Goodman was also a celebrated dancer who won the Carl Alan Award for his impressive contributions to the art of dancing. He even owned his dance academy in the south of England.