Remember These Iconic ‘Survivor’ Contestants?

Jonny Fairplay

Jonny Fairplay
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Jonny Fairplay, one of the most infamous personalities in reality television history, has become synonymous with the show Survivor. Appearing on the series’ seventh season — Survivor: Pearl Islands — Fairplay concocted what Jeff Probst once called “the greatest lie in Survivor history.” Knowing that the show had a history of bringing loved ones to set at a certain point in the game, Fairplay hatched a plan with one of his friends before the show. If he remained on the show long enough for his friend to visit, he wanted the friend to tell him that his grandmother had died while he was gone. His emotional performance has lived on throughout the show’s long history and he ended up coming in third — but Fairplay has little to no chance of ever returning.

J.T. Thomas

J.T. Thomas
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A three-time competitor, J.T. Thomas’ legacy is heavily debated by fans. On his original season, Tocantins, Thomas was dominant. He was well liked by the rest of the cast, breezed through challenges, and won the game without receiving one vote against him. Thomas won 11 challenges en route to a unanimous victory at the final Tribal Council. Thomas reappeared on Heroes vs. Villains, where he finished 10th, and again on Game Changers, where he settled for 16th.

Corinne Kaplan

Corinne Kaplan
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Throughout Survivor’s history there have been more than a few questionable decisions made by the competitors. However, not many rival the statement Corinne Kaplan made during her debut season, Gabon. Kaplan accused another survivor of having fabricated remorse for her father’s death. Yikes. Kaplan went on to finish in 7th — but she would return. She returned for Caramoan, but a poor strategy led to her demise right before the halfway point.

Russell Hantz

Russell Hantz
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There is unlucky, and then there is Russell Hantz. Hantz has appeared on four editions of the show, starting with Samoa. Hantz made it all the way to the final two — where he was verbally bashed by his cast mates. Hantz tried to make a deal with the winner of the show to relinquish the title because he believed he was the more deserving survivor. It didn’t work. Hantz was back for Heroes vs. Villains, and once again went off the handle following a close loss. Finishing in 3rd, Hantz deemed the winner (Sandra) unworthy. Karma caught up to him on his last two shows, as Hantz finished second-to-last on both occasions.

Amanda Kimmel

Amanda Kimmel
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Count Amanda Kimmel as another cast member who can’t seem to catch a break. Kimmel performed admirably throughout Survivor: China, racking up 12 challenge wins and accruing zero votes against her throughout the show’s run. Unfortunately, she didn’t represent herself well at the final Tribal Council and 3rd place. Her second crack at the prize came in Micronesia. Although the game didn’t go as smooth — eight challenge wins and four votes against — Kimmel reached the final yet again. Sadly, she lost the jury vote 5-3 and had to settle for 2nd. Invited back yet again for Heroes vs. Villains, Kimmel initially found success before she was targeted by the group. She managed to win eight more challenges leading up to her elimination. She finished in 9th.

Ethan Zohn

Ethan Zohn
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Ethan Zohn quickly became one of the most popular players in Survivor history. The winner of the third season, Africa, Zohn stormed past the competition with relative ease. A member of the Boran Alliance, Zohn won seven challenges and received zero votes to snuff his flame. The soccer player returned for All-Stars, but was eliminated in 11th place.

Parvati Shallow

Parvati Shallow
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Pavarti Shallow’s game improved as the season went on. In the early stages of the game, Pavarti utilized her looks and ability to flirt with her competitors to her advantage. However, when the game started to advance, Pavarti did a good job picking and choosing when to flirt, but more importantly relied on her ability to relate to others and gain their trust. Once she gained their trust, Pavarti perfectly implemented the art of blindsiding. Pavarti finished 6th on Cook Islands, mastered the games in Micronesia where she was victorious, and was the runner-up on Heroes vs. Villains.

Tony Vlachos

Tony Vlachos
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Few contestants, if any, have played with the same type of intensity that Tony Vlachos displayed on Survivor: Cagayan. Vlachos played with a recklessness that was risky, but ultimately genius. In addition to winning 10 challenges, Vlachos routinely blindsided his own alliance, discovered Hidden Immunity Idols, and never missed an opportunity to further his game. After convincing Woo Hwang to take him to the final Tribal Council, Vlachos won the grand prize behind an 8-1 vote. Due to his dominant performance on Cagayan, Vlachos entered Game Changers as one of the main targets. A win wasn’t in the cards the second time around, as Vlachos was the second person to be eliminated.

Richard Hatch

Richard Hatch
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A man synonymous with Survivor — the show’s first winner — Richard Hatch. Hatch was an immediate villain on Borneo. A polarizing figure due to his perceived arrogance, Hatch proved to be a shrewd player from the jump. He created the first alliance — which controlled the game — was an excellent fisher, and fared well in the challenges. Hatch is often remembered for his arrogant ways and penchant for removing his clothes, but his game shouldn’t be forgotten. He won six challenges en route to becoming the first Sole Survivor. Hatch returned for All-Stars, but was eliminated as soon as his team lost a challenge. Due to legal troubles, Hatch has not returned to the series.

Rob Mariano

Rob Mariano
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Has there ever been a more lovable contestant? ‘Boston’ Rob Mariano is an all-time great. Arguably the greatest Survivor player in the show’s history, Boston Rob can do it all. His charismatic personality, intelligence, devious ways, and ability to win challenges make Rob the ultimate contestant. After only finishing in 10th on Marquesas, Rob dominated All-Stars. Before reaching the final two alongside his future-wife Amber, Rob notched 15 challenge victories. Moments before Amber was announced the Sole Survivor by a vote of 4-3, Rob proposed — assuring that both would leave winners. Rob was back again for Heroes vs. Villains. Despite winning eight challenges, his tribe sent him home in 13th place. Then, finally, Boston Rob tasted victory. Rob reemerged for the season named Redemption Island. Rob put together another masterful performance, resulting in a 8-1 vote in his favor — finally securing the title of Sole Survivor.

Sandra Diaz-Twine

Sandra Diaz-Twine
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When it is all said and done, Sandra Diaz-Twine will go down as the most successful player in Survivor history. Sandra is the lone contestant to have been named the Sole Survivor on two occasions. Sandra made her debut on Pearl Islands. Never confused for being the biggest physical threat, Sandra played a great social game and was always a step ahead of the competition. She reached the Final Tribal Council without ever receiving an elimination vote. Once there, Sandra won by a vote of 6-1. She defended her crown on Heroes vs. Villains. Despite playing a mostly quiet game, Sandra once again found herself in the final. In the end, the jury’s negative feelings towards fellow finalists Russell and Parvati helped Sandra’s cause. The jury voted 6-3 in Sandra’s favor, making her the first two-time winner of Survivor. Sandra went for a three-peat on Game Changers, but the tribe wasn’t going to let it happen. Sandra finished in 15th place.

Ozzy Lusth

Ozzy Lusth
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Ozzy may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but he is easily one of the best contestants to ever play the game. A veteran of four editions of Survivor, Ozzy made his debut on Cook Islands. Easily one of the most athletically gifted players in show history, Ozzy won 16 challenges — including five individual Immunity Challenges — en route to the final. Unfortunately, Ozzy fell one vote shy of victory as the jury sided with Yul Kwon. After a 9th place finish on Micronesia, Ozzy once again displayed his prowess on South Pacific. Despite being voted out three times, Ozzy managed to win 12 competitions and finish in 4th. His latest attempt, on Game Changers, came up short again. However, by finishing in 12th place, Ozzy became the first contestant to make it to the merge four times.

Jenna Morasca and Heidi Strobel

Jenna Morasca and Heidi Strobel
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Out of all the reality competition shows, Survivor is undoubtedly the most difficult experience. Left on an island with sparse help and limited supplies, contestants must take advantage of any situation that arises — and that is exactly what Jenna and Heidi did during an episode of Survivor: The Amazon. While in the midst of an Immunity Challenge that could help the women advance in the game, the two made the host — Jeff Probst — a proposition. If he were to bring out peanut butter and chocolate for the two women, they would strip naked. Jeff kindly obliges and brings out a tray of peanut butter and Oreos. The women stripped, received their food, and left America stunned. Heidi finished in 5th place, while Jenna was named the Sole Survivor.

Rupert Boneham

Rupert Boneham
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Between his tie-dyed shirt, lush beard, sincere kindness, and vibrant personality, it is easy to see why Rupert is one of the most popular castaways of all-time. Another four-time vet, Rupert first appeared on Pearl Islands. Rupert proved to be both a physical and social threat in the game. Due to his evident ability, the tribe blindsided Rupert and he had to settle for 8th. On All-Stars, Rupert was once again blindsided and finished 4th. Despite coming up just short, Rupert still won $1 million via Survivor: America’s Tribal Council. Rupert received 85 percent of the 38 million votes cast, giving him a well-deserved win. After an impressive 6th place finish on Heroes vs. Villains, Rupert returned one final time for Blood vs. Water — where he became the first person eliminated.

Yul Kwon

Yul Kwon
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Without a doubt the smartest person to ever appear on Survivor, Yul Kwon made quick work of his fellow competitors on Cook Islands. A graduate of Stanford and Yale, Yul used his intellect to control the game. He excelled both socially and physically. His 12 challenge wins were only surpassed by his ability to dictate the game socially. He had most of the cast doing what he wanted them to do, and often times they’d be out before they knew what had happened. Yul was voted the Sole Survivor, over Ozzy, by a vote of 5-4.

Cirie Fields

Cirie Fields
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Cirie is a perfect example of brain being equally important as brawn. Cirie, who once described herself as a couch potato, has appeared on Survivor four times. On Panama, Cirie made it all the way to the final four — only to be eliminated in a fire-building tiebreaker. She upped her performance on Micronesia and finished in 3rd. A 17th place finish on Heroes vs. Villains remains her worst performance, but the lovable mom redeemed herself on Game Changers. Cirie notched a career-high nine challenge wins and was only eliminated when a record four people played Hidden Immunity Idol’s at the same time. Cirie, without receiving one vote against her all season, was eliminated in 6th place.

Kim Spradlin

Kim Spradlin
Image Source: Jim Spellman/WireImage

Take it away, Jeff Probst.

“I don’t know if anyone has ever dominated the game from start to finish like she did. She literally made every move she wanted, and every move she made counted. It was so good, some would argue it was boring to watch. That’s how much ahead of everyone else she was.”

On Survivor: One World, Kim was a powerhouse. The legend won four of the last five Individual Immunity Challenges, 12 challenges in total, and was named the Sole Survivor by a vote of 7-2.

Todd Herzog

Todd Herzog
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You have to hand it to Todd, at least he’s honest. The winner of Survivor: China, Todd back-stabbed his way to the final. Despite not being a physical threat, Todd’s social game was a cut above the rest. He helped form a dominant alliance — before blindsiding part of it — and pissed off his fellow competitors along the way. Todd’s claim to fame is his performance at the Final Tribal Council. In what is known as one of the best final speeches in show history, Todd admitted to his backstabbing ways. His honesty, however, helped secure him the $1 million prize.

Tom Westman

Tom Westman
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Perhaps the most honorable winner in Survivor history, Tom Westman also pulled off one of the most incomprehensible moves of all-time. In order to win Survivor: Palau, Tom had to convince a man named Ian to give up. In the midst of the final Immunity Challenge, Ian offered to step down from the beam — in essence surrendering $1 million — as long as Tom agreed to take Katie to the final instead of him. Despite Tom offering to take Ian to the final, Ian made the baffling decision to throw the challenge and his chance at the prize. After 12 hours, Ian jumped off, gave Tom the win, and proceeded to tell Tom to eliminate him. Ian’s stupidity was Tom’s gain. Tom won 6-1.

John Cochran

John Cochran
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The unlikeliest of winners, John Cochran shocked everyone when he claimed victory on Survivor: Caramoan. Cochran first appeared on South Pacific. Possessing a Harvard education, Cochran’s strategic ability was evident early on. However, his tribe betrayed him early and often, ultimately resulting in an 8th place finish. His sophomore season, Caramoan, couldn’t have gone any better. Cochran’s game developed immensely and he became an immediate threat. Socially, politically, and physically, Cochran played a near-flawless game. He won 12 challenges, never received a vote of his own, and was named the Sole Survivor in unanimous fashion — making him one of only two contestants to win while completing a ‘perfect game.’