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Russell Hantz
Born (1972-10-10) October 10, 1972 (age 41)
Residence Dayton, Texas, U.S.
  • Oil company owner
  • Television personality
Spouse(s) Melanie Hantz
Children 4

Russell Hantz (born October 10, 1972)[1] is an American oil company owner and television personality, best known for his appearances on the U.S. reality show, Survivor.[2] He was the runner-up on Survivor: Samoa,[3][4] and the second runner-up on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.[4][5] He also competed on Survivor: Redemption Island, where he was eliminated second.[6]

Hantz' performance on Survivor was met with a mixed reception.[2][7][8] Many consider him to be one of the show's greatest contestants of all time,[9][10][11][12] while others have strongly criticized his strategy, naming him one of the biggest villains in the show's history.[13][14] Nevertheless, Hantz was voted “Sprint Player of the Season” by which he was awarded a $100,000 cash prize on both Survivor: Samoa and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.[4] He was also inducted into the "Survivor Hall of Fame" in 2010, alongside Richard Hatch, Rob Mariano, Parvati Shallow, and Sandra Diaz-Twine. Additionally he was nominated in the 2010 Teen Choice Awards for his performance on Heroes vs. Villains.[15]

After his appearances on Survivor, Hantz stared alongside his older brother, Shawn, on the A&E reality documentary, Flipped Off.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Hantz is a self-made oilman[1] and has an estimated net worth of $2 million.[17] In Dayton, Texas, he runs an oil outfit known as Hantz Tankering Service with his father and brother.[18][19] He also owns a bar in Lafayette, Louisiana, known as Bootleggers.[20]

Hantz currently resides in Dayton, Texas.[1] He and his wife, Melanie,[16] have four children,[1] two of whom are twin girls.[12] Hantz' brother, Shawn, has a son named Brandon, who was a contestant on Survivor: South Pacific[21] and later Survivor: Caramoan.[22] Hantz also has a younger brother, Willie, who competed on Big Brother 14.[23]


On April 23, 2010, at 2:15 am, Hantz was arrested for battery while partying near the bar he owns in Lafayette, Louisiana. A woman was involved in a verbal argument with Hantz, during which he allegedly shoved her to the ground, causing her minor injuries. Hantz was released later that day without bail but was given a misdemeanor summons and a court date scheduled for June 24.[20][24][25]


Survivor: Samoa[edit]

After applying to compete on Pirate Master,[26] Hantz was called by casting two years later to appear on Survivor: Samoa. Assigned to the Foa Foa tribe[27], he began playing the game through lies and deceit, which included telling a false story about being a firefighter who survived Hurricane Katrina, and later burning socks and emptying everyone's canteen water.[28] In an interview with Andy Dehnart, Hantz explained that the idea behind this strategy was to psychologically weaken the other players in order to manipulate them.[29]

In episode 2, Hantz executed a successful plan to locate the hidden immunity idol before any clues were found.[30] When the Foa Foa and Galu tribes merged in episode 8, he attempted to use his idol as a bargaining chip with his new tribe mates in hopes of forming a coalition against Laura. But when Laura won the immunity challenge, the plan collapsed and word spread that Hantz' possessed an idol. Unaware of anyone's real intentions, Hantz played the idol at Tribal Council, but no votes were cast against him.[31] He later located a new idol, again without clues, and played it at the next Tribal Council, where he received seven votes. With those votes negated, Kelly was eliminated with the next highest number of votes.[32] Later, Shambo and John joined Hantz' alliance and successfully eliminated Laura.[33][34] Hantz then arranged John's elimination in the next vote.[35]

Due to the large number of Galu members on the jury, it was almost certain that Brett, Galu's last remaining member, would win the game if he won the final immunity challenge. Hantz narrowly defeated Brett in the challenge and Brett was eliminated by a unanimous vote at the next Tribal Council.[36] Ultimately, however, Hantz lost the game to his close ally, Natalie White, by a jury vote of seven to two.[37] Many believe his loss to have resulted from bitter feelings towards him by the jurors, rather than a positive attitude towards Natalie.[38] During the reunion show, he offered Natalie $10,000 and then $100,000 for the Sole Survivor title, but she declined.[36] Despite the loss, Hantz did take home the "Sprint Player of the Season" award, which included a cash prize of $100,000.[4] Hantz later appeared on The Early Show where he expressed discontent over Natalie's win, believing her to be an unworthy winner.[3]

Nine days prior to the Samoa live finale, Hantz registered where he thanked his supporters and asked them to purchase t-shirts and/or donate money to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.[39]

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains[edit]

Hantz was invited back for Survivor's twentieth season, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, as a last-minute substitute for Shane Powers.[40] He was assigned to the Villains tribe.[41] Since Survivor: Samoa and this season were filmed back-to-back, no other player had had an opportunity to watch Hantz’ game,[42] although they were told by the production crew that he was considered "one of the 5 most notorious male villains of all time".[43]

During this season, an infamous rivalry developed between Hantz and Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano.[44] In episode 6, Rob organized his alliance to split the vote 3-3 between Hantz and Parvati Shallow. The former then told Tyson Apostol that he also intended to eliminate Parvati, which influenced Tyson to change his vote from Hantz to Parvati. At Tribal Council, Hantz revealed an immunity idol and gave it to Parvati. The result was four votes for Parvati, two votes for Hantz, and three votes for Tyson. Since Parvati’s votes were negated, Tyson was eliminated.[45] In the next episode, Jerri Manthey joined Hantz' alliance with Parvati and Danielle and aided in Boston Rob’s elimination.[46]

In episode 9 the Heroes tribe began to blindly believe that there was an all-female alliance, headed up by Parvati, controlling the Villains tribe.[47] Hero J.T., who had found an immunity idol earlier,[48] gave it to Hantz during an immunity challenge with instructions to eliminate Parvati, but Hantz chose instead to vote out Courtney.[47] When the two tribes merged in episode 10, Hantz gave his idol to Parvati, not knowing Parvati already had an idol of her own. Parvati gave the idols to Jerri and Sandra at Tribal Council. Jerri and J.T. received five votes each, but since Jerri’s votes were negated, J.T. was eliminated.[49] In episode 11, Danielle found a clue to an immunity idol on a reward and shared it with Hantz and his allies, but Hantz ultimately discovered the idol for himself. He later showed it to Candice, a Hero, in attempt to pull her into his alliance with the intention of eventually eliminating Sandra. At Tribal Council, he played the idol, but received no votes.[50] In episode 12, Hantz won his first individual immunity of the season and later successfully arranged Danielle's elimination in order to break up her strong alliance with Parvati.[51]

At the final immunity challenge, Hantz edged out Parvati and Jerri by a few inches. He then chose to vote out Jerri, assuming he would get her vote for the Survivor title. Hantz' game, however, was panned by the jurors and Sandra ultimately triumphed over Parvati and Hantz in a 6-3-0 vote, winning her second Sole Survivor title.[52] Despite his loss, Hantz' Reunion experience was similar to his last in that he won the “Sprint Player of the Season” award and $100,000 for the second time.[4]

Survivor: Redemption Island[edit]

Hantz returned for Survivor: Redemption Island, to face off with his old rival, Rob Mariano.[53] By a random draw, Hantz joined the Zapatera tribe,[54] which later threw the third immunity challenge and immediately targeted him and his ally, Stephanie. Suspecting that something was up, Hantz devised a counter-strategy, but was ultimately voted out at the next Tribal Council and sent to Redemption Island.[55] His elimination from the game was finalized in the next episode upon losing the Redemption Island duel to Matt. Deeply saddened by the loss, Hantz stated that the season was his last on Survivor,[56] although he later indirectly stated at the reunion show that he had changed his mind.[57]

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hantz threatened legal action against his tribemates for forfeiting the immunity challenge, claiming that they had breached their Survivor contracts by doing so. He also criticized Boston Rob, referring to him as a "Survivor whore".[58]

Information leaks[edit]

In 2011, Hantz was accused of violating his Survivor contract by leaking information regarding the show's results. Late in the previous year, a man named Jim Early was sued by executive producer and Survivor creator Mark Burnett's DJB Inc., for successfully spoiling Survivor: Samoa and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on a Survivor fansite known as Survivor Sucks. The lawsuit accused Early of "misappropriation of trade secrets” and "tortious interference with contract." The charges were dropped on January 13, 2011, after Early provided to an attorney an email, which allegedly confirmed Hantz as source of the spoilers. Early claims that he had originally made contact with Hantz via telephone to warn him that someone had posted his private information online, but that Hantz had recontacted him later and begun revealing accurate information about the show's outcome, which Early posted to the fansite. Thus far, no legal action has been taken against Hantz, although contestants who reveal information regarding a season's results may face liquidated damages of $5 million.[7] In an interview with USA today, Hantz denied the accusations, commenting, "See, that's another thing. I am the villain, and its unfair that people perceive me that way, and they throw out things that's not fair to me or my family, and I guess I got to deal with it. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to comment on this or not, but it is 100% false."[59]

Other television appearances[edit]

On February 10, 2010, Hantz and ten other contestants from Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains made a special appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman to present the show's Top Ten List.[60]

In 2012, Hantz was featured on Flipped Off, an A&E reality series about house flipping. The series followed Hantz and his older brother, Shawn, as they worked with a local real estate agent to flip houses in the Houston area in pursuit of profit.[16][61][62][63] Taking place in the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis, Hantz stated that he expected "to be one of the biggest house flippers in Houston," and that he was "here to bring Houston's economy back on its feet."[64] He later told Rob Cesternino that he had turned down an opportunity to host Boston Rob's Around the World in 80 Ways in order to host Flipped Off.[65] The show consisted of seven episodes and ran from April 28 to June 16, 2012.

Hantz has also expressed interest in competing on The Celebrity Apprentice.[66][67]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Russell H.". CBS. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Russell Hantz a villain to tribemates but a hero to Survivor viewers, May 13, 2010, Toronto Star article.
  3. ^ a b Natalie White wins 'Survivor: Samoa,' but runner-up Russell Hantz calls her undeserving, December 21, 2009, New York Daily News article.
  4. ^ a b c d e 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' finale: Russell Hantz defeats Rupert Boneham for Sprint prize, May 16, 2010,
  5. ^ 'Survivor' villain Russell Hantz: 'Sandra's not even in the Top 20 of all time', May 17, 2010,
  6. ^ Gomez, Patrick (March 11, 2011). "Survivor's Russell Hantz: I Let My Fans Down". People. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Dehnart, Andy (January 31, 2011). "Survivor Spy Exposed". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ Knox, David (March 30, 2011). "Evil Russell voted out of Survivor". TV Tonight. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "25 Greatest Survivor players of all time!". Survivor Oz. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
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  11. ^ "Is Russell Hantz the greatest 'Survivor' player ever?". November 20, 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Hutchins, Kathy (December 21, 2009). "Survivor: Samoa‘s Russell Hantz: ‘I Am Really Good At This Game’". People. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
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  15. ^ Soll, Lindsay (June 14, 2010). "Teen Choice Awards 2010: First Round Of Nominees Announced". MTV. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c "Texas two-step: Russell Hantz takes his Survivor villainy to a new venue". Uncle Barky. April 26, 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  17. ^ Said, Sammy. "Russell Hantz Net Worth". The Richest. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
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  19. ^ Dehnart, Andy (September 29, 2009). "Russell Hantz will be on Survivor 20, his brother says". Reality Blurred. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
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  21. ^ Hughes, Jason (December 8, 2011). "Russell Hantz' Brother Visits Brandon, Isn't Pleased on 'Survivor' (VIDEO)". AOL TV. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
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  61. ^ Kondology, Amanda (April 18, 2012). "A&E Series 'Flipped Off' Will Now Premiere Saturday, April 28 At 10 PM". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
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  64. ^ Seidman, Robert (May 16, 2011). "'Survivor's' Russell Hantz Gets Own Show on A&E About House Flipping". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  65. ^ Cesternino, Rob (January 28, 2012). "The Greatest Russell Hantz Interview of All-Time". Rob Has a Website. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  66. ^ Carbone, Gina (May 10, 2012). "Survivor "Villain" Russell Hantz Wants to do Celebrity Apprentice, Vows to Not "Sit There Like a Little Brat"". Wetpaint. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  67. ^ Leblanc, Rosie (May 13, 2012). "Reality Whore Russell Hantz Heading to Celebrity Apprentice?". Celeb Dirty Laundry. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

| NAME = Hantz, Russell | ALTERNATIVE NAMES = | SHORT DESCRIPTION = Businessman and television personality | DATE OF BIRTH = October 10, 1972 | PLACE OF BIRTH = | DATE OF DEATH = | PLACE OF DEATH = }}

Category:1972 births Category:21st-century American businesspeople Category:American businesspeople in the oil industry Category:American television personalities Category:Businesspeople from Texas Category:Living people Category:Participants in American reality television series Category:People from Dayton, Texas Category:Survivor contestants