Len Goodman’s Dancing With The Stars colleagues were ‘kept in the dark’ about his terminal bone cancer battle during ‘consummate showman’s’ final appearance
Len Goodman’s colleagues on hit US show Dancing With The Stars have been left blindsided by the long-term judge’s death after they were kept in the dark about his bone cancer diagnosis.
The beloved English ballroom dancer and talent show judge passed away on Saturday aged 78, but those who worked with him in the United States claim he was ‘laughing and joking’ during his final season on Dancing With The Stars in November.
While some acknowledged that the characteristically jovial Goodman was’ slowing down,’ they attributed it to his advancing years and remained completely unaware that he was battling a terminal cancer diagnosis.
An insider told The U.S. Sun: ‘Len was such a pro that the moment the cameras and light came on, he became the consummate showman.’
According to the source he told show bosses: ‘Don’t bother asking me to do a dance for my farewell, because that ain’t happening, I just like to shuffle around these days!’
Tragic: Len Goodman’s colleagues on hit US show Dancing With The Stars have been left blindsided by the long-term judge’s death after they were kept in the dark about his bone cancer diagnosis
Farewell: The beloved English ballroom dancer and talent show judge passed away on Saturday aged 78
A second show source added: ‘The news about Len caught many of the production team by surprise today. There was an enormous feeling of sadness and grief because Len had brought so much fun and joy to the show, as well as being a perfect professional.
‘Last Fall, Len was certainly less of a presence around and while he looked thin, that frailty was just thought of as him getting older.
‘Obviously, now the suggestion is that he was dealing with something very aggressive and keeping it to himself.’
Goodman was a successful professional ballroom dancer, winning the British championships in his late twenties before retiring from the sport and opening a dance school.
Much later in life, he chaired the judging panel on Strictly Come Dancing from its launch in 2004 until 2016, and on its U.S. counterpart for most of the period from 2005 until 2022.
Unaware: Those who worked with him in the United States claim he was ‘laughing and joking’ during his final season on Dancing With The Stars in November
Beloved: While some acknowledged that the characteristically jovial Goodman was’ slowing down,’ they attributed it to his advancing years
He took a warm, supportive but critical approach as he watched celebrities taking on tangos and waltzes, adding a down-to-earth touch to the otherwise frequently flamboyant panel of judges.
‘Len … appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family. Len was at the very heart of Strictly’s success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said.
Goodman was born and grew up in London, and said he only took up dancing reluctantly at the age of 19 after a doctor said it would help him recover from a foot injury.
As a teacher, he said his priority was to make ballroom dancing “enjoyable and sociable”.
Speaking in 2012, following treatment for prostate cancer, he said he most hoped to be remembered for being “genuinely nice”.
‘I would like there to be people who can honestly say: ‘Len! Oh yeah, there was more good than bad in him.’,’ he said.
Strictly was one of the BBC’s most popular entertainment shows, attracting an average of more than 11 million viewers at its peak in 2010.
As many as 27 million viewers watched some episodes of “Dancing with the Stars” in its early seasons. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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