Dancing With the Stars is giving Len Goodman the ultimate honor by renaming the coveted trophy after the late judge.
“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,” executive producer Conrad Green told USA Today on Wednesday, September 20. “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.”
In addition to memorializing Goodman with the grand prize, Green also teased that the season 32 premiere of the competition series, which airs on September 26, will be dedicated to Goodman, who had been the head judge on DWTS since its inaugural season in 2005.
“Len loves this show and will always be there, looking down on us,” he said to the outlet.
Us Weekly confirmed in April that Goodman had died at the age of 78 following his private battle with bone cancer. “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” his agent, Jackie Gill, told Us in a statement. “A much-loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”
Five months before his passing, Goodman announced that he was retiring as a judge on DWTS following its 31st season. (Goodman was also head judge of the show’s BBC counterpart, Strictly Come Dancing, from its premiere in 2004 to 2016.)
“I’ve been with the show since it started in 2005 and it has been a huge pleasure to be part of such a wonderful show, but I’ve decided I would like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain,” he revealed at the time. “I cannot thank you enough, the Dancing With the Stars family, it’s been such a wonderful experience for me and I’m looking forward so much to next week’s finale.”
Strictly Come Dancing paid an emotional tribute to Goodman on its season 21 premiere last week with his former costars sharing some of their favorite memories of the ballroom judge.
“He’d lived a life and he brought all that experience to the show. He would tell you you’d danced awfully, but in such a nice way you sort of didn’t mind,” Strictly judge Anton Du Beke recalled. “Len is somebody you would want to have as a friend and I was fortunate enough to have Len as a friend for many years.”