Most Famous Survivor Winners

Celebrity Zebra

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Survivor, the iconic reality TV show, continues to captivate audiences across the globe since its debut on CBS in 2000. From the earliest seasons to recent ones, the show has featured various winners, utilizing various strategies and skill sets to emerge victorious. These players have left an indelible mark on the series, giving fans plenty of memorable moments and ensuring the show remains popular after 40 seasons.

Some famous Survivor winners have employed dominant strategic games, outwitting and outplaying their competition at every turn. Others have showcased impeccable social game skills, forming alliances and building relationships to pull them to the top. Remarkable comebacks, underdog stories, and strong recent-season winners have all made the Survivor landscape captivating and unpredictable.

Most Famous Survivor Winners

Key Takeaways

  • Iconic Survivor winners have left an indelible mark on the series’ history and popularity.
  • Winners have employed various strategies, including dominant gameplay, social skills, and remarkable comebacks.
  • Recent seasons feature strong winners, keeping the show fresh and exciting for long-time fans.

All Survivor winners

SeasonYearWinnerJury VoteRunner-up
1: Survivor: Borneo2000Richard Hatch4-3Kelly Wiglesworth
2: Survivor: The Australian Outback2001Tina Wesson4-3Colby Donaldson
3: Survivor: Africa2002Ethan Zohn5-2Kim Johnson
4: Survivor: Marquesas2002Vecepia Towery4-3Neleh Dennis
5: Survivor: Thailand2002Brian Heidik4-3Clay Jordan
6: Survivor: The Amazon2003Jenna Morasca6-1Matthew von Ertfelda
7: Survivor: Pearl Islands2003Sandra Diaz-Twine6-1Lillian Morris
8: Survivor: All-Stars2004Amber Brkich4-3Rob Mariano
9: Survivor: Vanuatu2004Chris Daugherty5-2Twila Tanner
10: Survivor: Palau2005Tom Westman6-1Katie Gallagher
11: Survivor: Guatemala2005Danni Boatwright6-1Stephenie LaGrossa
12: Survivor: Panama2006Aras Baskauskas5-2Danielle DiLorenzo
13: Survivor: Cook Islands2006Yul Kwon5-4-0Ozzy Lusth & Becky Lee
14: Survivor: Fiji2007Earl Cole9-0-0Cassandra Franklin & Dreamz Herd
15: Survivor: China2007Todd Herzog4-2-1Courtney Yates & Amanda Kimmel
16: Survivor: Micronesia2008Parvati Shallow5-3Amanda Kimmel
17: Survivor: Gabon2008Bob Crowley4-3-0Susie Smith & Sugar Kiper
18: Survivor: Tocantins2009J.T. Thomas7-0Stephen Fishbach
19: Survivor: Samoa2009Natalie White7-2-0Russell Hantz & Mick Trimming
20: Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains2010Sandra Diaz-Twine7-2-0Parvati Shallow & Russell Hantz
21: Survivor: Nicaragua2010Jud “Fabio” Birza5-4-0Chase Rice & Sash Lenahan
22: Survivor: Redemption Island2011“Boston” Rob Mariano8-1-0Phillip Sheppard & Natalie Tenerelli
23: Survivor: South Pacific2011Sophie Clarke6-3-0Coach Wade and Albert Destrade
24: Survivor: One World2012Kim Spradlin7-2-0Chelsea Meissner & Sabrina Thompson
25: Survivor: Philippines2012Denise Stapley6-1-1Michael Skupin & Lisa Whelchel
26: Survivor: Caramoan2013John Cochran8-0-0Dawn Meehan & Sherri Biethman
27: Survivor: Blood vs. Water2013Tyson Apostol7-1-0Monica Culpepper & Gervase Peterson
28: Survivor: Cagayan2014Tony Vlachos8-1Woo Hwang
29: Survivor: San Juan del Sur2014Natalie Anderson5-2-1Jaclyn Schultz & Missy Payne
30: Survivor: Worlds Apart2015Mike Holloway6-1-1Will Sim II & Carolyn Rivera
31: Survivor: Cambodia2015Jeremy Collins10-0-0Spencer Bledsoe & Tasha Fox
32: Survivor: Kaoh Rong2016Michele Fitzgerald5-2-0Aubry Bracco & Tai Trang
33: Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X2016Adam Klein10-0-0Hannah Shapiro and Ken McNickle
34: Survivor: Game Changers2017Sarah Lacina7-3-0Brad Culpepper & Troyzan Robertson
35: Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers2017Ben Driebergen5-2-1Chrissy Hofbeck and Ryan Ulrich
36: Survivor: Ghost Island2018Wendell Holland6-5-0Domenick Abbate & Laurel Johnson
37: Survivor: David vs. Goliath2018Nick Wilson7-3-0Mike White & Angelina Keeley
38: Survivor: Edge of Extinction2018Chris Underwood9-4-0Gavin Whitson & Julie Rosenberg
39: Survivor: Island of the Idols2019Tommy Sheehan8-2-0Dean Kowalski & Noura Salman
40: Survivor: Winners at War2020Tony Vlachos12-4-0Natalie Anderson & Michele Fitzgerald
41: Survivor 412021Erika Casupanan7-1-0Deshawn Radden & Xander Hastings
42: Survivor 422022Maryanne Oketch7-1-0Mike Turner & Romeo Escobar
43: Survivor 432022Mike Gabler7-1-0Cassidy Clark & Owen Knight
44: Survivor 442023Yamil “Yam Yam” Arocho7-1-0Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt & Carolyn Wiger
45: Survivor 452023TBA December 2023

Earliest Famous Survivor Winners

Richard Hatch

Richard Hatch became a household name after being crowned the first-ever winner of Survivor, taking home the title for the Borneo season. Winning a tight 4-3 jury vote, he quickly gained fame for his strategic gameplay. However, his post-survivor life encountered a fair share of controversies, notably an indecent incident between him and Sue Hawk during the All-Stars season, which resulted in Sue quitting the game.

Tina Wesson

Tina Wesson followed Hatch’s footsteps, securing victory in the show’s second season, Survivor: The Australian Outback. Her gameplay style was focused on creating strong alliances and leveraging her social skills. Wesson’s genuine relationships with fellow contestants helped her win the title in a 4-3 jury vote. She later returned for Survivor: All-Stars and Blood vs. Water, showcasing her never-ending enthusiasm for the game.

Ethan Zohn

Another fan-favorite winner, Ethiopian Zohn, showed true grit during the third season of Survivor, titled Africa. As a former professional soccer player, Zohn utilized his athleticism and competitive spirit to outlast his opponents. His likable nature and strong sense of community made him the Survivor: Africa winner. Tragically, Zohn faced health challenges, specifically battling cancer, with the same determination that brought him success on the show.

Winners with Dominant Strategy

Tom Westman

Tom Westman is known for his outstanding gameplay in “Survivor: Palau.” He was a natural leader with a strong physical presence in challenges, which enabled him to secure numerous immunity wins. Westman’s social game was equally impressive, as he cultivated strategic alliances and stayed loyal to his core group. He successfully navigated the game, making calculated moves while maintaining his likability, ultimately winning the season in a unanimous vote.

Kim Spradlin

Kim Spradlin, the winner of “Survivor: One World,” is recognized for her dominant strategic gameplay. Kim successfully formed strong alliances early in the game, putting her in a powerful position. She constantly evaluated her options, making smart moves to further her position in the game. Spradlin’s ability to read and manipulate other players was unparalleled, and she balanced a solid social game with physical prowess in challenges. Her impressive gameplay led to an overwhelming victory, securing seven out of nine jury votes.

Tony Vlachos

Tony Vlachos, a two-time Survivor winner, has established himself as a legendary player with his unique and aggressive approach to the game. In “Survivor: Cagayan,” Vlachos constantly kept his opponents on their toes with unpredictable moves and relentless gameplay. He masterfully played idols and orchestrated blindsides, exhibiting little fear of backstabbing his fellow contestants. In his second win on “Survivor: Winners at War,” Vlachos evolved his strategy, demonstrating adaptability and a keen social game, earning him the title of Sole Survivor.

Winners with Social Game Skills

Sandra Diaz-Twine

Sandra Diaz-Twine is a two-time winner of Survivor, first conquering season 7 in Survivor: Pearl Islands and then repeating her success in season 20’s Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. With a sassy and casual attitude, Sandra managed to maintain strong relationships with other contestants while at the same time expertly maneuvering through the challenges and eliminations.

Her strategy often revolved around the simple mantra, “As long as it’s not me.” Sandra kept her social game strong by staying under the radar, making sure she wasn’t perceived as a threat. She was adaptable and quickly formed alliances with fellow castaways. Furthermore, her wit and humor helped her connect with other contestants, contributing to her legendary status in Survivor history.

JT Thomas

JT Thomas, the winner of Survivor: Tocantins, played what many consider one of the best social games in the show’s history. He was charming, likable, and quickly earned the trust of fellow contestants. His friendly approach allowed him to avoid becoming a target and make it through the entire game without receiving a single vote against him.

Using a casual tone, JT connected with almost everyone on the island. He was also unafraid of making big moves and taking risks in his gameplay. As a result, he won his season unanimously, which is a rare feat in the world of Survivor.

Wendell Holland

Wendell Holland emerged victorious in Survivor: Ghost Island. While his physical game was impressive, his social game truly shined. He was laid-back and casual, making him approachable and easy to work with. Wendell formed strong bonds with fellow players, specifically creating a solid partnership with fellow finalist, Domenick Abbate.

Wendell managed to balance his competitive nature with a friendly and personable attitude. Through careful observation and communication, he was in tune with the game’s dynamics and could use this knowledge to his advantage. Wendell’s social skills were instrumental in his success, leading him to become the sole Survivor of his season.

Winners with Remarkable Comebacks

Chris Daugherty

Chris Daugherty, the winner of Survivor: Vanuatu, is remembered for his remarkable comeback in the game. Initially, he seemed to be on the outs as the only man left standing in an all-female alliance. However, he was able to turn the game around and regain control. He successfully worked his way to the end by winning challenges and making strategic moves. Chris’ social game and his ability to connect with the jury members ultimately secured his victory.

Ben Driebergen

Ben Driebergen’s journey to winning Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers was impressive. He started as a strong team player but quickly became a target when his former allies realized the threat he posed. Despite this, Ben managed to pull off a series of comeback moves that kept him in the game.

  • Finding Hidden Immunity Idols: Ben found three hidden immunity idols throughout the game, which he used to negate votes against him at critical moments.
  • Winning the Fire-making Challenge: At the final four tribal councils, Ben was forced to compete against fellow contestant Devon Pinto in a fire-making challenge. Ben won the challenge, securing his place in the final three and eventually winning the game.

Chris and Ben demonstrated resilience and a determination to succeed, making their comebacks in Survivor history stand out as truly remarkable.

Winners from Recent Seasons

Michele Fitzgerald

Michele Fitzgerald won “Survivor: Kaôh Rōng” (Season 32) in Cambodia. She claimed victory thanks to her strong social game and strategic gameplay, which allowed her to build crucial alliances. Michele’s notable moves during the season include a turning point where she voted out her alliance member, preventing a potential blindside.

Throughout her time in the game, Michele demonstrated her physical prowess by winning several immunity challenges. She managed to gain the respect and favor of the jury, ultimately securing the win in a 5-2-0 vote. Michele later returned in “Survivor: Winners at War” (Season 40), showing resilience despite facing tough competition.

Tommy Sheehan

Tommy Sheehan emerged victorious in “Survivor: Island of the Idols” (Season 39), which took place in Fiji. He employed a solid social game, building and maintaining positive relationships with most of his castmates. Tommy’s strategic thinking played a key role in his success, consistently navigating the game while staying one step ahead of his opponents.

During the season, Tommy was known for his adaptability, seamlessly fitting into each alliance and sub-alliance he encountered. He avoided being targeted despite never winning individual immunity and reached the Final Tribal Council. Tommy’s ability to articulate his game won over the jury, and he ultimately took home the title with an impressive 8-2-0 vote.

Both winners showcased their talents in “Survivor” through their excellent social and strategic gameplay, proving to be remarkable contestants in recent seasons.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the top 6 most memorable Survivor winners?

Some of the most memorable Survivor winners include Richard Hatch (Season 1), Sandra Diaz-Twine (Season 7 and Season 20), Parvati Shallow (Season 16), Rob Mariano (Season 22), Kim Spradlin (Season 24), and Tony Vlachos (season 28, season 40). These winners have left a lasting impact on the game due to their strategic gameplay, social skills, and memorable moments.

Which winners had the most impressive gameplay?

Several winners have showcased impressive gameplay throughout the history of Survivor. Sandra Diaz-Twine won the game twice (season 7 and season 20) with her “anyone but me” strategy. From season 16, Parvati Shallow is known for her strong social and strategic gameplay, orchestrating blindsides, and ability to form and maintain alliances. Tony Vlachos, who won season 28 and season 40, is known for his bold moves, unpredictability, and finding hidden immunity idols.

Who won the season Survivor: Winners at War?

Tony Vlachos won Survivor: Winners at War, season 40 of the show. This all-star season featured only previous game-winners, making it a highly competitive and intense gameplay experience.

Are there any famous winners from newer Survivor seasons?

Some notable winners from the more recent seasons of Survivor include Wendell Holland (season 36), who showcased strong strategic and social gameplay, and Tommy Sheehan (season 39), who focused on creating solid relationships throughout the game. These winners have continued to capture the attention of fans due to their gameplay and memorable moments.

Who are the most strategic Survivor champions?

Strategic gameplay is essential to winning Survivor, and some of the most strategic champions include Sandra Diaz-Twine (season 7 and season 20), Parvati Shallow (season 16), and Tony Vlachos (season 28, season 40). Each player approached the game with unique strategies and techniques that ultimately helped them become the Sole Survivor of their seasons.

Are there any popular contestants that haven’t won?

Survivor history is filled with popular contestants who stand out despite not winning the game. Some memorable players include Cirie Fields, known for her impressive social gameplay and strategic thinking, and Rob Cesternino, who played an aggressive and cunning game. And Malcolm Freberg, a three-time player who combined physical prowess with strategic gameplay. These contestants left a lasting impression on the game and are considered fan favorites.

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