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Full Name: Leonard Gordon Goodman
Dance Style: Ballroom
With the way Len Goodman nitpicks over arm extensions and twirls, you'd think he sambaed straight out of the womb. Surprisingly, he started dancing at the ripe old age of 19, after a short stint as an engineering apprentice (for Harland and Wolff in Woolwich). He tried dancing only in an attempt to recover from a foot injury he sustained while playing soccer! And surprise, surprise — young Len turned out to have a knack for dance. He eventually turned professional and won various competitions. He specialized in a form of dancing called Exhibition dancing, which focuses on lifts (a big no-no on DWTS!). Goodman has won the British Exhibition four times and was the runner-up in the Exhibition World Championships.
Goodman has been awarded the British Rising Star Award, the Carl Allen Award and, most recently, a Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also an accomplished Latin American and Ballroom professional dance competitions judge, and serves as a regular at the World and British Championships.
Len Goodman serves as the sometimes-affable-and-occasionally-cranky head judge on DWTS. Across the pond, he's spent six seasons as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, the British hit reality dance competition show on which Dancing with the Stars is based. He also makes regular appearances on the British show's companion program Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, as well as the show's Christmas specials and one-night-only airing of Strictly Ice Dancing. Busy man, that Len!
Len married his dancing partner Cherry Kingston in 1972. However, they later divorced. He has a son, James William Goodman, from his second wife Lesley, who also taught dancing at his dance schools in Dartford and Gravesend. Goodman is currently married to his third wife, Sue. He owns a dance studio in his hometown of Dartford, Kent, where he also lives.
Goodman was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March, 2009, which was treated surgically at a London hospital. Thankfully, he has made a full recovery!