LONDON — Len Goodman, a long-serving decide on “Dancing with the Stars” and “Strictly Come Dancing” who helped revive curiosity in ballroom dancing on either side of the Atlantic, has died, his agent mentioned Monday. He was 78.
Agent Jackie Gill mentioned Goodman “handed away peacefully” on Saturday night time. He had been identified with bone most cancers.
A former skilled ballroom dancer and British champion, Goodman was head decide on “Strictly Come Dancing” for 12 years from its launch on the BBC in 2004. The dance competitors, which pairs celebrities with skilled dance companions, was a shock hit and has change into one of many community’s hottest reveals.
Goodman’s pithy observations, delivered in a Cockney accent, endeared him to viewers. “You floated throughout that flooring like butter on a crumpet,” he remarked after one foxtrot. He praised a salsa-dancing couple as “like two scorching sausages on a barbecue.”
Goodman was head decide on the U.S. model of the present, ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” for 15 years till his retirement in November. For a number of years he judged the British and American reveals concurrently every autumn, criss-crossing the Atlantic weekly.
Buckingham Palace mentioned Camilla, the queen consort, was “saddened to listen to” of Goodman’s dying. The spouse of King Charles III is a fan of “Strictly,” and danced with Goodman at a 2019 occasion celebrating the British Dance Council.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman mentioned Goodman was “an ideal entertainer” who can be “missed by many.”
British broadcaster Esther Rantzen mentioned Goodman had been “astonished and delighted” by his late-life fame.
“One of many causes he succeeded so properly within the States is that he was quintessentially British,” she mentioned. “He was agency however honest, humorous however a gentleman and I hope the nation will undertake his favourite expostulation of ‘pickle me walnuts.’”
Goodman additionally introduced BBC radio applications and made TV documentaries, together with a 2012 program in regards to the sinking of the Titanic. As a younger man, Goodman had labored as a shipyard welder for the corporate that constructed the doomed ship.
BBC director-general Tim Davie mentioned Goodman was “a beautiful, heat entertainer who was adored by tens of millions. He appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everybody’s household. Len was on the very coronary heart of Strictly’s success. He will likely be vastly missed by the general public and his many family and friends.”
Goodman was additionally a recipient of the Carl Alan Award in recognition of excellent contributions to bounce, and owned the Goodman Academy dance college in southern England.