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April 1, 1974 |
Donaldson was born in Christoval, Texas, and earned a degree in business marketing at Texas Tech University, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Before becoming an actor, Donaldson started a welding business.
Survivor: The Australian Outback
Donaldson's first appearance on Survivor was in the second season, Survivor: The Australian Outback. Near the end of the competition, Donaldson won the final immunity challenge, over Tina Wesson and Keith Famie. As a result, Donaldson was given the choice of whom to face in the final two. Donaldson had formed an alliance with Tina Wesson early in the show and stated that he wanted to see that through. He also said that he did not want Famie to have a shot at winning the title. In the end, Donaldson cast his vote to eliminate Famie, who was generally disliked, and who Donaldson perceived as less deserving to win the title of Sole Survivor. Ultimately, Donaldson finished in second place, with Wesson winning the competition. In an online poll during the 20th season, the decision to take Wesson to the final two was listed as one of the options for the dumbest moves in Survivor history.
Survivor: All Stars
Donaldson was selected to participate in Survivor: All Stars. He was in the Mogo Mogo tribe, was the fifth person voted out, and the seventh overall to leave the game. At the televised reunion, Survivor: America's Tribal Council, Donaldson was voted by an online poll as the sexiest male castaway of all first 8 seasons. Donaldson is also known for his friendship with Survivor host Jeff Probst and their regular poker games.
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
Donaldson returned to play for a third time in the twentieth season entitled, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Due to what was perceived as a loyal and heroic move of taking Tina Wesson over the disliked Keith Famie, he was placed in the Heroes tribe. Donaldson quickly became an outsider, after forming an alliance with ex-Palau players Tom Westman and Stephenie LaGrossa, who were two of the first five to be eliminated. His performance in challenges was surprisingly weak, with ex-China and Micronesia player James Clement even calling him "Superman in a fatsuit." He and the rest of the Heroes tribe won the last three immunity challenges before the merge. As a result, the Heroes and the Villains entered the merge with five members each. After villain Parvati Shallow gave hidden Immunity Idols to Villains Sandra Diaz-Twine and Jerri Manthey, hero James "J.T." Thomas, Jr. was eliminated, giving the villains the advantage in numbers. The remaining Heroes were systematically eliminated, one by one, with Donaldson being the last of the Heroes remaining in the final episode. Ultimately, he was voted out on Day 37 and became the eighth jury member.
Donaldson also hosts the new spin off of Top Shot, called Top Guns, which premiered on H2 February 15, 2012, and features firearm instructors and former Top Shot competitors who test firearms throughout history.
After this brief stint on reality television, Donaldson turned to acting, appearing on such shows as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Reba, Just Shoot Me!, 8 Simple Rules, Bones, and several episodes of Joey. Donaldson also appeared on The Rachael Ray Show from 2006 to 2009 as one of Rachael's buddies. Donaldson had a minor role as a secret service agent in Wes Craven's 2005 film Red Eye.
Donaldson starred in several commercials as the spokesman for Schick razors.
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