Outwit, outplay and outlast. Over the years, Survivor has had many memorable players — from beloved fan-favorites to notorious villains. The reality series follows a group of players divided up into tribes as they are left to fend for themselves on a deserted island for nearly one month. Throughout the game, players are voted out and a select group becomes the jury that votes on a winner and awards the sole Survivor the $1 million cash prize. Richard Hatch was the first-ever winner of the CBS series, which premiered in 2000. While the Rhode Island native was known for his frequent nudity, he wowed viewers with his strategic prowess. Hatch created an alliance with the remaining members of the Tagi tribe when they merged with the Pagong group. The consultant and his allies worked together to reach the end, where he was ultimately crowned as the “Sole Survivor” in a 4-3 vote. Rob Marino, most commonly known as Boston Rob, charmed his fellow castaways and fans with his charisma and leadership skills. The contractor was the first contestant to play five times, and appeared in six, but only won once. However, he was the runner-up on his second appearance in the reality TV series, losing to his eventual wife, Amber Brkich. The pair tied the knot in 2005 and have welcomed four daughters since. With every hero on the show, a villain also emerges. Russell Hantz became one of the most infamous bad guys in the series. The Louisiana native was known for his ruthless gameplay and ability to unapologetically lie and manipulate his fellow contestants. Hantz was one of the first players to adopt the strategy of searching for a hidden immunity idol without using any clues. He went on to play three times and was a runner-up in Survivor: Samoa and finished third in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Despite never winning the game, he is one of the few players to make the finals in multiple appearances.
Its easy to forget, but Russell really did reinvent a couple of things,” host Jeff Probst explained in a 2020 Cameo Video reshared via Instagram praising Hantz. “Maybe most significantly, [he’s] the first guy who ever said, ‘Why do I need to wait for a clue to go look for an idol? How many spots could it be in? I just re-watched Heroes vs. Villains and I really was reminded of how impressed I was by his absolute relentless pursuit of any and everything, including Parvati [Shallow], which may have done him in. But that was a really fun season.” Survivors host Jeff Probst told TVLine in December 2022 that Jesse Lopez's blindside of fellow castaway Cody Assenmacher was “one of the most powerful Survivor moves of all time because it was so personal.Jesse Lopez, who aligned with Cody on day one, shocked viewers when he betrayed his friend at the end of the season. The PhD student managed to blindside the salesman with a sneaky, secret idol play and stole his friend's immunity idol bracelet prior to voting him off the island. While many viewers labeled the California native as a “ruthless villain,” Jesse told TVLine that he simply saw himself as a “trickster.”
Shan’s method of attack was to make friends with contestants only to betray them, often convincing her tribemates to give her their advantages only to vote them out of the game once they handed them over.
The pastor fully embraced her role as season 41’s “villain,” even humming her own self-proclaimed anthem when she was up to something sneaky, dubbing it her “Shanthem.” My only regret playing Survivor Season 41 was that my mom wasn’t alive to see it. Other than that, this was a dream come true,” she wrote via Instagram in November 2021. “I loved playing this game. As an MS warrior I kicked so much ass y’all! Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable disease and no one but God and me will ever know just how terrified I was of competing. I was so worried about flaring up and having to be medically evacuated, or being unable to walk, or see or move just because my immune system felt like acting up. But I went to Fiji anyway, because I never want to live my life in fear. Boston Rob, was the franchise's first four-time contestant, competing on Survivor: Marquesas (2001), Survivor: All-Stars (2004), Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (2010) and Survivor: Redemption Island (2011), the latter of which he won. Mariano was best known for his charismatic gameplay and intelligent leadership. On All-Stars, he famously teamed up with Amber Brkich, who would go on to win the season and, eventually, marry Mariano. The couple later competed on The Amazing Race. Boston Rob returned as a mentor for Survivor: Island of the Idols in 2019. He also played again the following year for Winners at War. Rupert, Russell, Jon, Joe, Rudy, Spencer, and Richard are among the best players too who have higher chances to stand till the last level of the game.