It’s curtains for the star of one of Disney’s most popular and longest-running prime-time television shows, as he announced during a live broadcast on Monday evening.
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“I’ve decided to spend more time with my grandchildren and my family back in Britain.”
Those were the final words of the resignation delivered by the lead judge of Disney/ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, Len Goodman, on Monday evening during a live broadcast of the Semi-Finals for Season 31 of the show which pairs celebrities with professionally-trained dancers and follows the couples’ progress over several weeks.
“I’m looking forward to next week’s finale,” Goodman, 78, said halfway through Monday evening’s live broadcast. “It’s also with a touch of sadness as this will be my last season judging on ‘Dancing with the Stars.'”
Goodman has been the centerpiece of the judges’ panel on Dancing With the Stars since 2005. But long before he wielded such judicial power on the sidelines of Disney’s most famous dance floor, he too spent years under the scrutiny and criticism–constructive or otherwise–of other dance judges.
Goodman didn’t start dancing until he was almost 20 years old, after doctors recommended it as therapy after a foot injury. By his late twenties, he had already retired from dancing, having turned professional, after winning multiple competitions, including the British Championships at Blackpool.
Val Chmerkovskiy, one of the show’s professional dancer/instructors, says he was shocked by the announcement.
“I was very surprised by the news,” he told Parade after the show Monday night. “No one knew. What am I going to miss? I’m going to miss the familiarity. I knew him before the show. He is such an important voice, an important authority. And the British accent makes every difference. I’m going to miss all of that. Hopefully, they’ll have his spirit somehow still present. He’s going to be missed.”
“It has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show,” Goodman said, speaking to ex-super model and host of the show, Tyra Banks. “But I’ve decided I’d like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain. I cannot thank you enough, the ‘Dancing with the Stars‘ family. It’s been such a wonderful experience and I’m looking so much to next week’s finale. I’m sure it’s going to be absolutely brilliant.”
The finale of Dancing With the Stars, Season 31, airs live on Monday night, November 21, on Disney+. Viewers can also stream episodes of the fan-favorite show anytime on the platform as well.