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Len Goodman, Legendary Former ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Judge, Dies

London Len Goodman, the legendary judge on the shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “Strictly Come Dancing” who helped revive interest in ballroom dancing on both sides of the Atlantic, has died, his agent said Monday. He was 78 years old.

Deputy Jackie Gill said Goodman “passed away peacefully.” had been diagnosed bone cancer.

Goodman, a former professional ballroom dancer and British champion, was head judge on “Strictly Come Dancing” for 12 years since its launch on the BBC in 2004. The dance competition, which pairs celebrities with professional dance partners, was a surprise hit. and has become one of the network’s most popular shows.

Goodman’s pithy remarks, delivered with an accent cockneythey won the affection of the spectators. “You floated across the floor like butter on a bun” he commented after a foxtrot. She praised a couple of salsa dancers as “like two sizzling sausages on a barbecue.”

Goodman was a main judge on the US version of the show, ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” for 15 years until his retirement in November. For several years, he judged the British and American shows simultaneously each autumn, crossing the Atlantic on a weekly basis.

British broadcaster Esther Rantzen said Goodman was “astonished and delighted” by his late fame.

“One of the reasons it was so successful in America is that it was quintessentially British.” said. “He was firm but fair, funny but a gentleman.”

Goodman also presented BBC radio shows and made television documentaries, including a 2012 show on the sinking of the Titanic. As a young man, Goodman had worked as a shipyard welder for the company that built the doomed ship.

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