'Dancing With the Stars' Premiere Honors Late Judge Len Goodman With Renamed Mirrorball Trophy

'DWTS' used the season 32 premiere to honor Goodman, who died on April 22, 2023, at age 78.

Dancing With the Stars kicked off season 32 on Tuesday, and co-hosts Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough started things off with a touching tribute to late judge Len Goodman.

"Now, we're obviously missing a big part of our Dancing With the Stars family tonight," Ribeiro shared. "Of course, I'm talking about head judge Len Goodman, who passed away earlier this year."

"Len was on this panel for nearly all of our 31 seasons. And although he is irreplaceable, we wanted to keep his spirit alive," Hough shared.

"And that's why, as a tribute to him, we redesigned and renamed our ultimate prize," Ribeiro added, introducing the newly renamed Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy.

"It is so fantastic that Len will always be going forward with us," Hough said, before teasing a "spectacular tribute to Len" coming in a few weeks.

The beloved judge and former professional dancer died on April 22, 2023, after privately battling bone cancer. He was 78.

In a recent interview earlier this month, DWTS executive producer Conrad Green shared that the coveted mirrorball trophy had been renamed in Goodman's honor. 

"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 tells 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," the producer shares.

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Goodman's influence on the long-running show was reiterated by past and present cast members alike. 

Former Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron told ET, "No disrespect to Bruno [Tonioli], Carrie Ann [Inaba], Derek [Hough], or Julianne [Hough] back to when she was a judge, but I think they too would agree that it was Len's critique and opinion that everybody valued most."

Goodman appeared as a judge on DWTS from 2005 until 2022. He also served as a founding judge on the British dance competition, Strictly Come Dancing, from 2004 to 2016. He announced his retirement from DWTS in November 2022.

Goodman was a former dancer himself, winning the British Championships in his 20s before ending his dancing career to become a professional judge.