Professional dancer Derek Hough said Len Goodman, the long-time head judge on “Dancing With the Stars,” left him a “beautiful” parting gift after their final season on “DWTS.”
“I walked in my dressing room when there’s this giant picture of Len,” Hough, 37, said on the Whine Down With Jana Kramer podcast on April 30 about Goodman’s last day filming “DWTS.” “It was framed, beautiful gold frame and it’s a picture of him and it had this handwritten message from him.”
“It was so beautiful, but also like, inappropriate humor. Like, funny,” Hough told Kramer. “It was a hilarious thing he wrote as well. And it was signed by him … I was just so touched and moved by that. Just thinking how our lives were so intertwined.”
Goodman died in April 2023 after battling bone cancer. He was 78. His manager, Jackie Hill, confirmed his death. “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” Gill told BBC News. “A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”
Hough had known Goodman since he was 12 years old. He told Kramer that Goodman had “great energy” and “the gift of gab.”
“I just keep thinking back and some of these memories and these moments, and just thinking again, just how fortunate we were to have had him for so long on the show, at least, but he certainly went far too soon in life,” Hough told the outlet about his late mentor.
Goodman served as a judge on “Dancing With the Stars” from 2005 until 2022. He was also the head judge of the British competition series, “Strictly Come Dancing,” from 2004 to 2016.
Hough Is Heartbroken Over Goodman’s Death
Hough wrote a special tribute to Goodman on Instagram after his death was confirmed. He shared a picture of himself with the ballroom dancer and they both smiled.
“Heart broken by the news of our dear friend and mentor Len Goodman,” he wrote. “It’s a gloomy morning here in Los Angeles which seems fitting after this heart breaking news. But when I think back at the memories we all shared with Len, his sense of humor, his smile and charm everything feels much brighter and full of sunshine.”
“Still hard to fully process but filled with gratitude knowing I had the privilege of working beside this absolute legend,” he continued. “We will miss you dearly Len. We love you ❤️ Rest In Peace my friend.”
Goodman Retired From ‘DWTS’
Goodman announced his retirement from “DWTS” in November 2022.
“Doing a live show you have to be at the top of your game and quick to react. And as one gets older, then things start to get more challenging,” Goodman told People. “I haven’t fallen asleep or started dribbling yet on the show, so I thought it’s best to go before I start to do so!”
“I will miss the California sunshine, working with my fellow judges and the camaraderie with everyone on the show,” he continued to the outlet. “I’ll miss seeing the celebrities developing into dancers and I will miss being part of one of the most successful shows on TV.”
“DWTS” is returning to ABC for season 32, which is slated to air in the fall. Host Tyra Banks is being replaced by Julianna Hough and Alfonso Ribeiro. Derek Hough, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba make up the three-person panel.