Len Goodman’s memory will remain alive in the “Dancing With the Stars” ballroom.
The legendary choreographer was the head judge on “Dancing With the Stars” starting in its very first season in 2005, but he announced his retirement in November 2022, just five months before his death from bone cancer at age 78.
On the DWTS season 32 premiere, Goodman’s name will be front and center with an unprecedented honor as a redesigned mirrorball trophy is renamed in his memory.
The DWTS Prize Will Be Renamed The Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy
In September 2023, just days before the “Dancing With the Stars” season premiere, executive producer Conrad Green announced a change to the name of the glitzy DWTS trophy made in honor of Goodman.
“The Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy will now be lifted on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ like the Vince Lombardi trophy is lifted at the Super Bowl,” Green told USA Today. “We wanted to make Len a permanent part of this show, to always remind people the importance he’s had to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and how much he meant to all of us.”
“Len loves this show and will always be there, looking down on us,” Green added of the late DWTS veteran.
Goodman was given his own mirrorball trophy during the “Dancing With the Stars” season 31 finale in November 2022.
In addition to renaming the trophy to include Goodman’s name, Green said the season 32 premiere will be dedicated to the dance legend and his career.
The DWTS producer noted that renamed trophy “will be fitting for a season that is a bit of a restart” with a new co-hosting team and a move back to ABC after a one-year hiatus from the network. Green also confirmed that none of the remaining judges – Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, or Derek Hough – will get Goodman’s title of “head judge.”
DWTS Host Alfonso Ribeiro Said ‘There Won’t Be a Dry Eye in the House’ on Premiere Night
A top-secret dance tribute to Goodman is also underway for the “Dancing With the Stars” premiere on September 26, 2023. Six-time mirrorball champion Derek Hough teased that he put a lot of thought into how he planned to honor Goodman.
“I’m thinking about a moment on the show that I want to dedicate to Len,” Hough told TV Insider in a June 2023 interview. “I’m trying to select the right song. The feeling I get when I think about Len is doing a pure and classic waltz or foxtrot. ‘No fussing about!’ ‘ No lollygagging!’ That’s what I want to do. I want to honor him by bringing the history of dance into the future and to never lose the history of where dance came from.”
Co-host Alfonso Ribeiro revealed that all of the pro dancers will choreograph routines with Goodman in mind. “I can guarantee you that every one of those pros will be making sure that the routines are still designed for Len,” Ribeiro told The Messenger in September 2023. “I know I’ve talked to a few of them, and they will be putting in specific steps that Len loved just to make sure that the content is still there for him.”
As for a group dance tribute to Goodman, Riberio teased, “I can’t tell you what it is yet, but we’re going to definitely do something to honor him. There won’t be a dry eye in the house. He was the best.”