Former-Strictly head judge Len Goodman dies at age 78


Len Goodman, a well-known judge on the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, has passed away.

Len Goodman cause of death

He died from bone cancer, MailOnline confirmed that he died peacefully in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, surrounded by his family.

He had been unwell for a short period and was in the hospice after retiring just six months earlier.


A spokesperson for Len described him as “a much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”

Born on April 25, 1944, in London, Len Goodman started his working life as an apprentice welder before becoming a professional dancer and teacher.

He won numerous dancing competitions, including the World Exhibition Championships in the early 1970s, before founding the Goodman Dance Academy in Kent.

Goodman was an examiner for the National Association of Teachers of Dance, a Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, and an adjudicator for the World Dance Council.

Goodman became a household name as the head judge on Strictly Come Dancing, starting with the show’s launch in 2004 until 2016. His knowledge of Latin and Ballroom, along with his well-turned metaphors, made him a favourite with millions of viewers.

He also appeared on the US version of the show, Dancing With the Stars, until November 2022, when he announced his retirement to spend more time with his family.

Len Goodman married his dance partner, Cherry Kingston, but the couple later divorced. He had a long-term relationship with Lesley and they had a son, James. Len’s autobiography, ‘Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom,’ was published in 2009. He went on to publish two other books, ‘Len’s Lost London’ and ‘Dancing Around Britain.’

Goodman was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2009, which he treated with surgery in a London hospital.

In September 2021, it was reported that he had undergone surgery for a small facial melanoma the previous year.

Despite these health challenges, he remained upbeat and continued to work in the entertainment industry.

Len Goodman’s death has been widely mourned by leading figures in the entertainment industry.

His career spanned six decades, and he was a national treasure who won the hearts of many with his knowledge and wry humour.

In his retirement, he spent his Saturday nights shouting at the TV while watching Strictly Come Dancing. Despite his success, Len Goodman remained humble and joked that his obituary should read, “He was a dance teacher from Dartford who got lucky.”

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