His passion, unbridled energy, and inimitable dancing skills made Bruno Tonioli one of the most sought-after dancers and choreographers in the United Kingdom, and propelled him to international stardom as one of the judges on the popular reality dancing competition, "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), where he dished some of the most outrageous and memorable critiques to the show's celebrity contestants. He was born on Nov. 25, 1955 in the small northern town of Ferrara, Italy. An only child of working-class parents, Tonioli began to dance before he could talk. His family did not own a television until he was seven years of age, so he often went to the movies to watch Hollywood musicals with his father, who admired American dance icons Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. At 18, Tonioli joined a dance troupe and moved to Paris, where he became a successful choreographer. Pop bands sought out his services, and he worked on numerous commercials and in films. While his dancing career flourished, the grief he experienced after the death of his mother in 1994 and then his father in 2001 nearly ended it. He worked through his pain with the help of his chosen art form, choreographing films like the dramas "Little Voice" (1998) and "Me Without You" (2001), and an episode of the hit comedy skit "French and Saunders" (BBC, 1987- ) starring Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Tonioli also worked with A-list music stars such as Elton John, Tina Turner and Freddie Mercury on their music videos and concert tours.