Len Goodman is the senior judge on Dancing With the Stars. Back this season after some time off, the celebrated ballroom dancer returns with his unique panache and high standards. If he seems a bit curmudgeonly — and the crowd does boo Len’s criticism sometimes — maybe it’s because of the genius of enthusiasm at the end named Bruno Tonioli. Goodman, his silver hair and his mature stature stand in stark contrast to the flamboyant, energetic, raven-haired Bruno. Their styles couldn’t be more opposed (even if they often agree about technique and accomplishment).
Because of this, many are surprised to learn that just about a decade separates Len at age 72 from Bruno’s remarkably youthful 61. The gleam in Len’s eyes beats most septuagenarian sparkles, of course, and his smile alone can deliver an epic flush of pride to a DWTS competitor who has just won his praise. The difference of 11 years is perhaps exaggerated because Bruno is a baby boomer, and every inch a boomer too, while Len seems to possess a dignity and elegance that belongs specifically to the generation that came before before rock and roll — even if he was born in 1944, four years after fellow countryman John Lennon.