Thanks to his long-running participation in Strictly Come Dancing and current participation in Dancing with the Stars, Len Goodman is a well-known dancer and judge. It may come as a surprise to some people that the 78-year-old, although having a famous face, maintains a relatively private personal life.
Len Goodman Illness
He battled cancer in secret while filming a previous season of both Strictly and Dancing with the Stars. The celebrity previously disclosed his struggle with prostate cancer, but at the time he chose to only tell a small number of individuals.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, he explained why he chose to continue working rather than forego the live DWTS shows after his treatment. He said: “I could have said ‘sorry’ and not done the show, but the doctors felt I wasn’t riddled with it and it wasn’t so far advanced that it was a life-or-death scenario.”
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Early Life of Len Goodman
Len Goodman was born on April 25, 1944, in the Bethnal Green neighbourhood of East London, England. When he was six years old, he moved with his family to the Blackfen neighbourhood of London. Later, he went to Westwood Secondary Modern School in Falconwood. There, Goodman played for the varsity cricket team.
Career in Dance
Unlike the bulk of professional dancers, Goodman has only lately begun dancing. He didn’t begin working in the field until he was 19 years old when his doctor suggested dancing as a therapeutic exercise to repair a foot issue. This was fortunate since shortly after, Goodman won titles at various professional competitions. After winning the British Championships in his late 20s, Goodman gave up dancing.
“Strictly Come Dancing”
A new chapter in Goodman’s career began in 2004 when he was appointed chief judge of the BBC reality dance competition programme “Strictly Come Dancing.” In the programme, professional dancers compete against celebrities for the top prize.
A panel of judges grades the couples, who mainly dance in ballroom and Latin genres. From his appearance on the show until 2016, Goodman shared the panel with Arlene Phillips, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli, Alesha Dixon, and Darcey Bussell. He made his final appearance in the 2016 Christmas Day special. Shirley Ballas succeeded Goodman as chief judge the following year.
“Dancing with the Stars”
The following year, Goodman relocated to the United States to take on the role of top judge on “Dancing with the Stars,” the American equivalent of “Strictly Come Dancing” in the United Kingdom. Since that time, Goodman has made appearances alongside “Strictly Come Dancing” judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba.
For five seasons, judges Julianne and Derek Hough worked with him. Goodman was not a judge in seasons 21 and 29, however, he did provide brief instructional segments on several dance styles in the later season.
Developing a Career in Television
Goodman has made numerous more televised appearances in addition to dancing on “Strictly Come Dancing” and “Dancing with the Stars.” When he won the top prize in “The Weakest Link” in 2006, he took part in a singing and dancing rendition of the game.
Later, Goodman began presenting more documentaries. Len Goodman hosted the three-part “Titanic with Len Goodman” BBC documentary series, which honoured the historic voyage’s 100th anniversary and the titular ship’s tragic fate.
In the series, Goodman included locations in the UK with significance to the history of the Titanic and spoke with survivors’ descendants. Then, in 2013, he co-hosted the BBC specials “Len Goodman’s Dance Band Days” and “Len Goodman’s Perfect Christmas” and co-presented the three-part series “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” with Lucy Worsley.
In 2014, Goodman participated in the two-part ITV documentary “Secrets from the Clink.” Later the same year, he assumed hosting duties for the BBC documentary series “Holiday of My Lifetime,” which features him and several renowned guests as they go to well-liked UK vacation spots. The programme was presented by Goodman from 2009 to 2016.
At the time, he co-hosted “Len and Ainsley’s Big Food Adventure” with chef Ainsley Harriott and hosted the views documentary series episode titled “For the Love of Fred Astaire.” One of his other 2017 television appearances was on the family game show Partners in Rhyme with Len Goodman. Additionally, he has made appearances on shows including “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Football Focus.”
Participations on Radio
Goodman occasionally replaced Paul O’Grady as anchor of the Sunday afternoon music programme on BBC Radio 2. He appeared on the programme in 2013 and 2018. Later in 2021, Goodman hosted a few Bank Holiday specials on Boom Radio.
Len Goodman’s Personal Life
Cherry Kingston and Goodman were wed in 1972; they later divorced in 1987. After that, he dated Lesley for a very long time and had a son with her named John.
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After the final divorce between Goodman and Lesley, John returned home with his mother. In 2012, Goodman married dance instructor Sue Barrett after more than ten years of dating her.
It is well known that West Ham United, a Premier League team, has a sizable following in Goodman. Because he is a huge cricket fan, he participated in a celebrity cricket match in 2009.
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