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Len Goodman (1944-2023) DWTS & SCD Head Judge


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I thought it would be nice to have a separate thread in honor of Len.


Leonard Gordon Goodman was born in England on 04/25/44.


Len left school when he was 15. He began an apprenticeship in an engineering factory and was an apprentice fitter at computer company ICT in Dartford. After taking a welding course, he became a welder at British Oxygen Corporation in Cricklewood. Then he worked in the North Woolwich shipyard as a welder for Harland and Wolff, the company that built the RMS Titanic.


Len was an author, too. His autobiography is Better Late Than Never: My Story (published 2008) / Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom (published 2009).


received Carl Alan Award for outstanding contributions to dance

head judge on Dancing with the Stars from 2005-2022 (seasons 1-20, 22-28, and 30-31)

head judge on Strictly Come Dancing from 2004-2016 (series 1-14)

For several years, he judged the British and American shows simultaneously.


Len announced his DWTS retirement during the season 31 semifinals on 11/14/22 to spend more time with his wife Sue, son James, and two grandchildren in Britain. Len was honored with a tribute video and his own mirrorball trophy during the finale on 11/21/22.



Five months later, Len "passed away peacefully" at a hospice on 04/22/23 from bone cancer—three days before his 79th birthday.




Len was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2009 and had a facial melanoma removed about a decade later. He also had a knee replacement operation in 2015.


Len revealed in December 2022 that his father Leonard passed away suddenly at age 79 after a stroke.




04/24/23 articles about Len's life







Len's website


Edited by RTV
11/30/23 removed video that is now "private"
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1 hour ago, Alex95 said:

Such shocking and sad news to wake up to! RIP Len

Ugh same. I woke up to this news... and am so sad and shocked to hear this. 😢 



RIP Len. Thank you for everything you brought to DWTS and Strictly over the years. 😢❤️ 

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17 hours ago, *Wallace said:

Ugh same. I woke up to this news... and am so sad and shocked to hear this. 😢 


RIP Len. Thank you for everything you brought to DWTS and Strictly over the years. 😢❤️ 

Same here. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP Len.

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On 4/24/2023 at 3:54 AM, *Lily said:

His farewell on the finale is even more touching / sad now 💔 

True. I didn't want Len to stop judging DWTS, but now I'm glad he announced his retirement and was honored at the end of last season. To hear this sad news only five months later is shocking.





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  • RTV changed the title to Len Goodman 1944 - 2023 DWTS & SCD Head Judge

Dance halls and dancing were quite popular in Britain from the 1920s to the mid 1960s. Len took dance classes at Court School of Dancing in Welling from age 14-15. He broke his foot playing sports when he was 19. Len's doctor advised ballroom dancing as therapy for the injury. Although Len initially balked at the idea, he eventually agreed to take classes and soon discovered his love of dance.


Len's dance teacher was former world champion Joy Tolhurst. After her husband died suddenly, Joy asked 22-year-old Len to help her teach. He won numerous competitions—including the British Exhibition Championships four times, World Exhibition Championships, British Professional Rising Stars in 1972, and Duel of the Giants in 1973 and 1975—before retiring from professional dancing in his late twenties after winning the British Championships in Blackpool. His dance partner was Joy's daughter Cherry, who was five years younger than Len. The couple married on 04/27/72. Len established Goodmans Dance Centre in Dartford, Kent, with Cherry in 1973. After their divorce in 1987, he continued to teach aspiring dancers.


Len had a long-term relationship with Lesley Pine, a teacher at his dance school and the ex-wife of Black Sabbath's manager. Their son James William Goodman was born on 01/26/81. James became a Latin and ballroom dancer and a teacher at his father's studio. James and his wife Sophie had a daughter in 2015 and a son in 2019.


Len met dance teacher Sue Barrett at a golf club in 2002. The couple married on 12/30/12. Sue is reportedly 57 and runs a ballroom dancing school out of their home in Kent.


Goodman Dance Academy thrived and still offers classes in all styles of dance.







These articles about Len's dance school were published after his death. 





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  • RTV changed the title to Len Goodman (1944-2023) DWTS & SCD Head Judge

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