Len Goodman was an expert ballroom dancer from England who was born on April 25, 1944, in Farnborough, Kent. He grew up in Bethnal Green, East London, and used to play cricket for the Westwood Secondary Modern School team.
However, when he was 19, he injured his foot, and his doctor suggested that he start dancing to help with the treatment. Goodman became a famous dance teacher, judge, and TV personality, known for his role as the head judge on “Strictly Come Dancing” and “Dancing with the Stars.”
He also wrote books, articles, and campaigned for cancer awareness. Len Goodman left a lasting impact on the world of dance and entertainment. Let’s read his full biography and net worth below.
Len Goodman Biography
Leonard Gordon Goodman was a dancer, dance teacher, and competition judge. He was born on April 25, 1944, in Farnborough, Kent, England, and passed away on April 22, 2023, at the age of 78 in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England.
Goodman was known for his work as a judge on the popular TV shows “Dancing with the Stars” in the United States and “Strictly Come Dancing” in the UK. He was also a host on shows like “Holiday of My Lifetime” and “Partners in Rhyme.”
Goodman was married twice. His first marriage to Cherry Kingston ended in 1987, and he later married Sue Barrett in 2012. He had one child.
Goodman had a long career in the entertainment industry, starting in 1967 and continuing until his retirement in 2022. He was respected for his talent as a dancer and his expertise as a judge. His contributions to dance will always be remembered.
Goodman was married twice. His first marriage was to Cherry Kingston in 1972, which ended in divorce in 1987.  He then married his longtime girlfriend, Sue Barrett, in 2012.  Goodman had a son, James William Goodman, from his first marriage.
In addition to his work in dance and television, Goodman was also an accomplished author. He published several books, including “Better Late Than Never: My Story,” which chronicled his life and career, and “Len Goodman’s Ballroom Bonanza,” which provided readers with dance tips and techniques. He was also a regular columnist for the Daily Mail.
Goodman went pro, won several events, and stopped dancing after he won the British Championships at Blackpool when he was in his late 20s. The Carl Alan Award was given to him because of all the great things he did for dance.
Goodman was the head judge on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing from the show’s first season in 2004 until 2016. Besides Arlene Phillips, Bruno Tonioli, and Craig Revel Horwood, he was on the panel.
Phillips was later replaced by Alesha Dixon, and then by Darcey Bussell. Goodman said in July 2016 that he would leave the show at the end of that year’s run. Goodman was the only head judge on the American version of Strictly Come Dancing, called Dancing with the Stars.
Since the beginning of the show, he has been on with fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. For five seasons, he has also been on with Julianne Hough and Derek Hough, who take turns being the fourth judge.
He didn’t judge in seasons 21 and 29, but he did talk about dance styles in short parts in season 29. During the season 31 quarterfinals on November 14, 2022, Goodman said that he would be leaving the show to spend more time with his family in Great Britain.
In 2005, Goodman was the voice of Professor on Auto-B-Good, a children’s show that won five Emmy Awards. He was one of the UK’s judges at the Eurovision Dance Contest in both 2007 and 2008.
In March and April 2012, Goodman was the host of a three-part program on BBC One that was shown on PBS in the United States to mark the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic’s journey and sinking.
Goodman was the host of the BBC Four show Len Goodman’s Dance Band Days in 2013. He was also the host of BBC One’s Len Goodman’s Perfect Christmas on Christmas Day. Goodman and Lucy Worsley hosted the three-part BBC Four show Dancing Cheek to Cheek in November and December 2013.
In August 2014, Goodman was one of several famous people who took part in the ITV television series Secrets from the Clink. Goodman was the host of the BBC One show Holiday of My Lifetime in October 2014.
Goodman and chef Ainsley Harriott hosted the BBC show Len and Ainsley’s Big Food Adventure in November 2015. It was a 10-part series about world food in England and Wales. In 2017, Goodman hosted a game show for families called Partners in Rhyme.
It was based on the game Obama Llama by Matt Edmondson. Goodman made a guest appearance on the Channel 4 soap show Hollyoaks in October 2021. His voice was heard while Denise Welch, who played dance teacher Trish Minniver, was thinking about the past.
From 2013 to 2018, Goodman filled in for Paul O’Grady on his BBC Radio 2 Sunday afternoon music show. He played the songs he grew up with. In 2021, he led three special shows for Boom Radio on bank holidays.
Goodman was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 and underwent successful treatment. He was an advocate for cancer awareness and encouraged men to get checked regularly.
On 22 April 2023, Goodman passed away at the age of 78 in his home in Kent, England. He is survived by his wife, Sue, and his son, James.
Legacy | Honors
- Recipient of the Carl Alan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Dance
- Nominee for the Emmy Award in the Outstanding Reality/Competition Program category in 2006 and 2007
- Patron of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
- Author of several books, including “Better Late Than Never: My Story” and “Len Goodman’s Ballroom Bonanza”
- Advocate for cancer awareness
Len Goodman was a skilled ballroom dancer, teacher, and judge from England. He made his fortune through his career in dance, which included coaching, judging, and television appearances. At the time of his death in 2023, his estimated net worth was $18 million. 
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