After 13 seasons hosting Dancing with the Stars, Tom Bergeron has gone from being a familiar face to becoming a star in his own right.In early 2005, when Tom Bergeron got the call asking if he’d host the debut season of Dancing with the Stars, he almost said no.
“My agent said, ‘ABC wants you to do a summer show, and you have to promise you’ll do it,’ ” Bergeron, 56, recalls with a laugh. “I promised, then she told me it was a celebrity ballroom competition. I said, ‘Really? Why don’t you just cast me in an infomercial?’ ”
He quickly revised his opinion after watching the British version of the show. It proved to be a smart move: Now Bergeron, who also hosts America’s Funniest Home Videos and has authored a memoir, is the face of one of the most successful shows on television, the 14th season of which premieres this month. Not that he’s let it go to his head.
“This is a wonderful gig,” he says. “But it’s only part of the pie of life.”
The other parts include Lois, his wife of 29 years, and daughters Jessica, 23, and Samantha, 21, who’ve kept him grounded from the start. “When I started hosting America’s Funniest Home Videos in 2001, the part my daughters enjoyed most was watching the videos at home before I mucked them up with my voice-over,” he says. “Their enjoyment had nothing to do with me at all. That keeps you in check.”
It’s that kind of humility that has helped endear him to friends and viewers alike. “He always adds a little levity to everything,” says retired NFL star Emmitt Smith, who won Dancing’s third season. “And he’s such a good person; he really is.”
In fact, despite the Emmy on his shelf (from his prior gig hosting Hollywood Squares), Bergeron says that the highlight of his career has never been accolades or press. Instead, it’s the friendships he’s made along the way.
“Those are the things that resonate and last,” he says. “You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.”
Tom Bergeron recalls high- and lowlights from 13 seasons of DWTS.
Season 2: Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke’s freestyle to “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”
“The audience was on their feet. Up until that point, no one knew what the freestyle dance could be.”
Funniest Personal Moment
Season 2: Dancing the quick step during a results show
“I danced to help me understand the show better. You can still find it on YouTube.”
Season 5: Marie Osmond fainting on live TV
“She was white as a ghost, then she just disappeared. There I stood on live television with an unconscious Osmond at my feet.”