Rob Mariano

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Rob Mariano
Born Robert Carlo Mariano
(1975-12-25) December 25, 1975 (age 40)
Canton, Massachusetts, USA
Residence Pensacola, Florida, USA
Other names Boston Rob
Alma mater Xaverian Brothers High School
Boston University
Occupation TV personality
Television Survivor: Marquesas
Survivor: All-Stars (runner-up)
The Amazing Race 7 (runner-up)
The Amazing Race 11: All-Stars
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
Survivor: Redemption Island (winner)
Spouse(s) Amber Brkich (m. 2005)
Children 4

Robert Carlo Mariano (born December 25, 1975), known by the nickname Boston Rob, is an American television personality, widely known for appearing in several reality shows, including Survivor, and The Amazing Race with his wife, Amber (Brkich) Mariano. In 2011, he won Survivor: Redemption Island and the $1,000,000 prize in his fourth appearance on Survivor.

Rob's performance has been met with mixed reception. Many consider him as the greatest Survivor player ever. However, many others criticize him for taking four attempts to win, for being a pre jury boot 2 of his first 3 seasons, and even criticize his competition in his winning season of Redemption Island. He remains a polarizing figure to this day, but is also recognized as one of the most popular, well known, and talked about players in the show's history.

Personal life[edit]

Mariano was born in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, and raised in Canton, Massachusetts. He graduated Xaverian Brothers High School from 1996, where he played golf, softball, and hockey. In 1999, Mariano graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Boston University and began serving as the head coach of their inline hockey team.[1] At the time he first entered Survivor, he was a 25-year-old who was continuing to coach the hockey team.[2]

Mariano began a relationship with fellow reality TV contestant Amber Brkich in 2003, during their time filming Survivor: All-Stars.[3] They became engaged on May 9, 2004, during the show's live finale at Madison Square Garden in New York City,[4] and married on April 16, 2005 at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas.[5] CBS aired a two-hour special about the wedding, entitled Rob and Amber Get Married, on May 24, 2005.[5] After their marriage, Brkich took Mariano's surname, and the couple moved to Pensacola, Florida.[6] The Marianos have four daughters: Lucia Rose (born July 4, 2009),[6][7] Carina Rose (born December 10, 2010),[8][9] Isabetta Rose (born May 5, 2012),[10][11] and Adelina Rose (born June 20, 2014).[12][13]

He is a well known fan of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.

Survivor[edit]

Marquesas[edit]

During Survivor: Marquesas, Mariano fronted a highly successful opening alliance in his initial Maraamu tribe. A tribal swap in the fourth episode effectively denied him the control he enjoyed in his old tribe, as he was switched to the "new" Rotu tribe in which he was outnumbered by former Rotu members 5–3. Ultimately he was the first person voted out of the game when the tribes merged in the seventh episode. His original Maraamu tribe was outnumbered by members of the original Rotu tribe 7–3. Since the Rotu tribe thought that Mariano caused too much drama in camp and that he was the biggest threat of the remaining Maraamu tribe members (the others being Vecepia Towery and Sean Rector), he was the first Maraamu tribe member targeted.

In an attempt to save himself, Mariano had tried to warn Rotu tribe members Pascal English, Neleh Dannis, and Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien about the Rotu Four alliance of John Carroll, Tammy Leitner, Zoe Zanidakis, and Robert DeCanio, but was unsuccessful (although he successfully planted seeds of suspicion that would lead to the remaining Rotu members and all the Maraamu members teaming up to turn on the Rotu Four the following Tribal Council). Prior to his elimination, he provided useful information to Vavrick-O'Brien about possible betrayal by former members of Rotu who were not switched during the tribal switch.

All-Stars[edit]

During Survivor: All-Stars, Mariano developed an early alliance which eventually developed into a romantic relationship with fellow contestant Amber Brkich. He was able to form a dominant long-term alliance with Rupert Boneham and Jenna Lewis, taking them all the way to the Final Four.

Early on, Mariano and Brkich agreed to form an alliance. After the game was underway, due to a twist that "absorbed" one of the three tribes, Lewis and Boneham joined the Chapera tribe. Mariano and Brkich quickly fortified a long-term alliance with the tribe's two new members. The Chapera tribe then enjoyed a lengthy winning streak, winning immunity the next three times. The group did lose one member, however, when Sue Hawk opted to leave due to an unpleasant encounter with Richard Hatch.

Later on, a tribal shuffle had every contestant switch tribes and camps, with the exception of Brkich, who remained on the Chapera tribe with Lex van den Berghe, Shii Ann Huang, Jerri Manthey, and Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien. Chapera went on to lose the next challenge and Mariano bargained with van den Berghe to save Brkich in return for Mariano's help later down the road. Van den Berghe, Huang, and Vavrick-O'Brien saved Brkich and eliminated Jerri Manthey. In the following episode, the merge occurred, and Mariano voted to eliminate van den Berghe, going back on his promise. From there on, Mariano and Brkich managed to maintain several alliances; they were allied with Boneham and Lewis, with "Big Tom" Buchanan, and with Alicia Calaway. Mariano and Brkich proceeded through the game, eventually finding themselves in the Final Four with Lewis and Boneham after breaking ties with Calaway and Buchanan.

With four contestants remaining, Brkich won her first individual Immunity challenge, and she and Mariano convinced Lewis to vote out Boneham, reminding him that they would draw rocks otherwise, with a two-out-of-three chance that either she or her main ally Boneham would be eliminated anyway, and that none of the other three could beat Boneham in a jury vote should he reach the final. Mariano won the next and final immunity and chose Brkich to continue with him to the Final Two. Facing the jury, the couple met criticism for their aggressive and underhanded gameplay. Mariano took the brunt of the criticism, as he was seen as the leader of their dominant two-person alliance, and was deemed by the jury as the one with more blood on his hands. Meanwhile, Brkich admitted to being there partly by riding Mariano's coattails and letting him do more of the dirty work while she worked behind the scenes, but argued that her impressive overall social and underrated quiet strategic game was a key part of both getting to the finals together. She also seemed to get less blame by the jury for decisions she and Mariano largely made together, and thus wisely stayed somewhat in the background during the Final Tribal Council.

In the season finale several months later, the couple was revealed to still be dating. Just before the votes were read, Mariano proposed to Brkich and she accepted. Moments later, it was revealed that, in a 4–3 decision, Brkich had won the game. Mariano received votes from Lewis, Boneham and Vavrick-O'Brien. Despite having created one of the most hostile and bitter juries in Survivor history, Rob's immense skill and utter control and dominance of the game was recognized as he still very nearly managed the win. Shi Ann Huang (who was the one jury member to heap praise on both Rob and Amber's game play) was the largely undecided swing vote to which would be the winner, and ultimately sided with Amber due to being impressed by her Final Tribal answers. In the 19th season of Survivor; Survivor Samoa the runner up Russell Hantz had a similar experience.

Heroes vs. Villains[edit]

Mariano was a contestant in the 20th season of the show titled Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. He was a member of the Villains tribe, and was the de facto leader of the Villains until his right-hand man Tyson Apostol fell for a plot by Russell Hantz to give Parvati Shallow a fourth vote, rather than split the votes 3–3–3 between Hantz, Shallow, and Apostol as planned. Hantz shocked Mariano's six-person alliance by playing the idol on Shallow, rather than himself, and with her four votes negated by the idol, Apostol would be voted out with three votes to Hantz's two. This completely swung the balance of power in the tribe, and after a clash with Hantz, a switch in alliances by Jerri Manthey to the Hantz side, and Benjamin "Coach" Wade refusing to take a side and casting his vote for Courtney Yates, Mariano would become the eighth person voted out on a 4–3–1 vote.

Redemption Island[edit]

On January 13, 2011, it was announced that Mariano would compete in Survivor: Redemption Island as one of two returning players (along with Russell Hantz). This made Mariano the first person to play Survivor four times. Hantz was seen as a threat by his tribe (Zapatera), which intentionally lost an immunity challenge in order to vote him out. There was also intense distrust of Hantz due to his Heroes vs Villians performance. Mariano, on the other hand (perhaps even benefitting from his early boot on Heroes vs Villians, and the large gap in time since All Stars), made various strong alliances with most members of his tribe (Ometepe) and managed to convince his tribe that his experience was valuable and that he could be loyal. His 2 closest allies throughout the game- Grant Mattos and Natalie Tenerelli, were particularly undying in their extreme loyalty and at times blind trust towards him. As the game progressed he also managed to increasingly draw in the otherwise unpredictable disagreeable Phillip Sheppard, becoming by far Phillip's closest and most trusted ally, with Rob showing great care and social awareness in his handling of him. Ashley Underwood, Andrea Boehlke, Matthew Elrod also would be firmly on Rob's side through their entire time in the game, right up until Rob orchestrating their vote offs (2 different times for Boehlke and Elrod). Ultimately, his six-person alliance from his original tribe remained loyal to one another and they became the final six players remaining on the main island (although others remained on Redemption Island throughout the Game until Day 36).

Once the alliance began voting out its own members, Mariano managed to remain in the game and won the final immunity challenge, lasting the full 39 days. Despite being on a season of impressive athletes- former NFL player Grant Mattos, former Iraq War Veteran Mike Chiesl, Matthew Elrod who set a record for consecutive challenge wins on Redemption Island, and former female basketball star Ashley Underwood, Rob would end the season with 4 individual immunities, the most of anyone. Rob carefully orchestrated the blindsides of those he felt could beat him in a jury vote or a final 4 immunity challenge. First voting off the likeable Andrea Boehlke, who he worried had connections and respect by the jury due to her close friendship/ romance with Matthew Elrod (who had spent considerable time on Redemption Island with nearly every jury member), strong work ethic, and strong challenge play; then blindsiding his closest ally Grant Mattos, likely the biggest jury threat of the entire Ometepe tribe, convincing him Natalie Tenerelli would be voted out that night instead. Lastly, he removed Underwood, his only remaining possible threat for jury votes, by successfully convincing her best friend Natalie Tenerelli to vote her out, rather than force a firemaking challenge against Phillip Sheppard. He would successfully use his close bond and trust he had built with young Natalie, by convincing her of a potential rock picking tiebreaker (which had been eliminated roughly 6 years earlier on Survivor) should she vote for Phillip, and force a tie,[14] thus making her feel compelled to make the difficult decision of voting for Ashley along with Rob. This ploy was to not only ensure of Ashley's elimination, but likely lose Natalie the vote of Ashley by having her betray her with Rob (Ashley would vote for Rob to win the game). He would thus go to the finals with the heavily disliked Phillip Sheppard and the little respected and perceived coattail rider Natalie Tenerelli, and while the jury consisted of a combination of former Ometepe members that Mariano had blindsided, and former Zapatera members who Rob had virtually ignored and who had been picked off one-by-one by Rob's cult like alliance, with no real options left who to vote for given the finalists, even a somewhat hostile and bitter jury awarded Rob a commanding win with 8 of a possible 9 jury votes (Ralph Kiser, the one jury member who Phillip had not lashed out and insulted during a hostile Final Tribal performance, gave Phillip his vote, due to a stated mutual respect for one anothers work ethic around camp). His game is not only often cited as one of the best examples of complete control ever seen on the show, but as perhaps the best ever execution of the increasingly popular "goat herding" strategy of modern Survivor, pinpointing and taking the weakest and most easily beatable opponents to the end. To this day Natalie and Phillip are regarded as 2 of the biggest and most obvious goats ever seen on Survivor, let alone to make the finals, and Rob's skill, care, and ability to bring two such weak and poorly liked individuals to the end is highly praised. His ability to correctly identify the biggest goats of a game is also widely admired, particularly when so heavily contrasted to arch rival Russell Hantz's inability to not only keep the respect of a jury as Rob can, but to accurately judge the weakest opponents to bring to the end as Rob does. However, many fans criticize Rob for having no competition the entire season, and criticize his tribemates for being too starstruck to act against Rob. Some fans also criticize him for probably having been unable to beat anyone other than his 2 ultimate goats and just possibly the final boot Ashley (based upon cast interviews, amongst other indicators).

At the reunion, Mariano was declared the winner in an 8–1–0 vote, with Sheppard receiving the one dissenting vote from Kiser. Additionally, Mariano won the viewer-voted $100,000 "Sprint Player of the Season" award over runner-up Elrod, with 40% votes to Elrod's 36%. On the 22nd day of Redemption Island, Mariano became the fourth person to play Survivor for 100 days, following Amanda Kimmel, Parvati Shallow, and Rupert Boneham, and ultimately surpassed Shallow for most days survived, with a total of 117. His performance in Redemption Island at the time was gushed upon by longtime show host Jeff Probst as the "most perfect game of Survivor ever."[15]

In an eerily similar situation to Lex van den Berghe from All-Stars, Grant ended his friendship with Rob post game due to Rob's voting him out, a situation which was confirmed at the Reunion show. Although the two had tried to salvage their friendship, only stopping to talk entirely in March 2011, 6 months after filming completed and 2 months prior to the Reunion.[16] As of late 2016 an ever optimistic Rob still speaks of having hope to make amends with either or both Mattos or Van den Berghe someday in the future however. Although still not in contact, Rob and Lex ran into one another at a Survivor related fundraiser in early 2016 and were cordial to one another, even posing a couple times for pictures. As of October 2016 Grant and Rob have had no personal contact of any kind since the Reunion show however.

In addition to Amber, he remains particularly close friends with Tyson Apostol, Natalie Tenerelli, Peter Harkey, Sean Rector, from his 4 Survivor seasons, and also keeps in contact with and continues relationships with Courtney Yates, Phillip Sheppard, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Parvati Shallow and Benjamin "Coach" Wade.

The Amazing Race[edit]

Season 7[edit]

As an engaged couple, Mariano and his fiancée Amber Brkich participated in the seventh season of The Amazing Race and came in second place. During a Roadblock challenge in Mendoza, Argentina, in the third leg of the race, contestants had to eat four pounds of meat. Mariano began the roadblock but very quickly determined he would not or could not eat that quantity. The penalty for not finishing the Roadblock was a four-hour delay. By convincing several other contestants to refuse to participate, he ensured that several contestants were on the same timetable as he and Brkich. Also in South America, Mariano pooled his money with some other racers to bribe the bus driver into letting the teams that contributed off earlier. When he bribed the driver, he used none of his own money.

In Botswana, during the sixth leg of the race, the couple was criticized by fellow racers, as well as host Phil Keoghan, when they drove by the car accident of another team, brothers Brian and Greg, without stopping. Their fellow competitors all checked in with the brothers prior to continuing on to the next stage of the race. In southern Africa, Mariano and Brkich saw their own photo on a magazine cover.

Mariano and Brkich ultimately finished in second place behind married couple, Uchenna and Joyce. Amongst fans, there has been much speculation surrounding the final leg of the race. It has been argued that the production crew had intervened with the airport authorities and aided Uchenna and Joyce onto the same, earlier plane as Mariano and Brkich. In the "Revisiting the Race" special feature on the Season 7 DVD, Mariano, along with Uchenna and Keoghan denied these accusations. Mariano describes Uchenna running around frantically trying to get onto the flight, which the final edited version of the show does not portray. Keoghan cites the fact that the decision to re-open the door rested solely with the pilot, and that intervention by the production crew would have resulted in someone leaking such information out. Although Mariano and Brkich lost the one million dollar grand prize and "The Amazing Race 7" winners' title at the final leg of the race, they managed to place 1st in the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 10th legs. They were also the only team to not come in last place on any legs of the race.

All-Stars[edit]

The Marianos later competed in the All-Stars season of The Amazing Race, which began airing in February 2007. Their racing status was listed as "newlyweds." While they had set a record for the Race, coming in first place for the first three legs, they were eliminated on the fourth leg.

Additional television appearances[edit]

Between their two appearances on The Amazing Race, Mariano and Brkich filmed a 10-episode show for the Fox Reality Channel, Rob and Amber: Against the Odds in 2006, which aired the following year. Set in Las Vegas, the program follows Mariano's attempts to become a professional poker player and features professional player Daniel Negreanu tutoring him. The series ended with Rob and Amber Mariano accepting an offer to appear on The Amazing Race: All-Stars and the odds of professional poker career waned.

He also appeared in the "All-Stars" episode of Canadian show Reality Obsessed, hosted by Murtz Jaffer and won first place in a competition that pitted him against James Zinkand (Big Brother 9 (US)), Jen Parker (The Amazing Race 12), and Jennifer Hoffman (The Apprentice (U.S. TV series)).

Title Date Type Role Description
The Player 2004 Reality show Narrator / player operator In 2004, Mariano was the narrator/player operator of a short-lived reality series on UPN titled The Player.
Rob and Amber Get Married May 24, 2005 Reality show special Himself On April 16, 2005, Mariano and Brkich were married in a private ceremony in the Bahamas. CBS aired Rob and Amber Get Married, a two-hour special about the wedding, on May 24, 2005. [1]
Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker 2006 Poker competition Himself Mariano appeared on Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker in 2006. He was eliminated in Episode 4, but came back to win the second-chance celebrity table. He was eliminated once again in the final episode.
Sci Fi Investigates October 2006 TV series Co-host Mariano was a co-host of the six-week Sci Fi series, Sci Fi Investigates. The show investigates subjects such as Bigfoot, Mothman, Paranormal Hotspots, Roswell, The Afterlife and Voodoo. [2]
Poker Dome Challenge October 8, 2006 Poker competition Himself Mariano appeared on the October 8, 2006 episode of Poker Dome Challenge where he finished in second place.
Around the World in 80 Ways October 2, 2011 TV Series Co-host Mariano was co-host on The History Channel's Around the World in 80 Ways which ran from October to December 2011.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jud "Fabio" Birza
Winner of Survivor
Survivor: Redemption Island
Succeeded by
Sophie Clarke