|Born||October 10, 1972|
|Residence||Dayton, Texas, U.S.|
Russell Hantz (born October 10, 1972) is an American oil company owner and television personality, best known for his appearances on the U.S. reality show, Survivor. He was the runner-up on Survivor: Samoa, and the second runner-up on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. He also competed on Survivor: Redemption Island, where he was eliminated second.
Hantz's performance on Survivor was initially met with a mixed reception. Many consider him to be one of the show's greatest and most influential contestants, while others have strongly criticized his strategy, naming him one of the biggest villains in Survivor history. 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. He was also one of the first five contestants inducted into the "Survivor Hall of Fame" in 2010, alongside Richard Hatch, Rob Mariano, Parvati Shallow, and Sandra Diaz-Twine. Additionally, he is one of only five contestants to ever make it to the finals in more than one season, in addition to Mariano, Amanda Kimmel, Shallow, and Diaz-Twine. Hantz was nominated in the 2010 Teen Choice Awards for his performance on Heroes vs. Villains.
In the years since Hantz last competed on Survivor, the general reception to his performance has gradually become more positive. In the official issue of CBS Watch magazine commemorating the 15th anniversary of Survivor, Hantz was voted by viewers as the 2nd-greatest player in the history of the series (only behind Mariano), and Hantz is consistently voted in other polls as one of the greatest, and most influential, players in Survivor history (particularly in the non-winning category). A number of prominent Survivor critics and former contestants have since voiced their belief that Hantz, at the very least, should've won Samoa (and Russell himself says that Parvati Shallow should have won "Heroes vs. Villains"), which to this day has continued fueling a debate among Survivor fans over the concept of a "bitter jury."
After applying to compete on Pirate Master, Hantz was called by casting two years later to appear on Survivor: Samoa. Assigned to the Foa Foa tribe, 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 his tribemates' socks and emptying their canteen water. 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.
Early on, Hantz executed a successful plan to locate the hidden immunity idol before any clues were found. When the Foa Foa and Galu tribes merged, he attempted to use his idol as a bargaining chip with his new tribe mates in hopes of forming a coalition against Laura Morett. When she won the immunity challenge, the plan collapsed and word spread that Hantz's possessed an idol. Unaware of anyone's real intentions, Hantz played the idol at Tribal Council, but no votes were cast against him. He later located a new idol, again without clues, and played it at the next Tribal Council, where he received seven votes, eliminating Kelly Sharbaugh (who received the other four votes). Later, Shannon "Shambo" Waters and John Fincher joined Hantz's alliance and eliminated Morett. Hantz then arranged Fincher's elimination in the next vote.
Due to the large number of Galu members on the jury, it was almost certain that Brett Clouser, Galu's last remaining member, would win the game if he won the final immunity challenge. Hantz narrowly won immunity and Clouser was eliminated by a unanimous vote at the next Tribal Council. Ultimately, Hantz beat out fellow finalist Mick Trimming, but lost the title of Sole Survivor to his close ally, Natalie White, by a jury vote of 7–2–0, despite being "heavily favored" to win. Host Jeff Probst believed his loss resulted from bitter feelings towards him by the jurors, rather than a positive attitude towards White. During the reunion show, Hantz offered White $10,000 for the Sole Survivor title, and then increased the offer to $100,000, but she declined both times. Despite the loss, Hantz won the "Sprint Player of the Season" award, which included a cash prize of $100,000.
Nine days prior to the Samoa live finale, Hantz registered
russellgotscrewed.com where he thanked his supporters and asked them to purchase T-shirts and/or donate money to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Heroes vs. Villains
Hantz was invited back for Survivor's 20th season, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, as a last-minute substitute for Shane Powers, and was assigned to the Villains tribe. Since Survivor: Samoa and this season were filmed back-to-back, no other player had had an opportunity to watch Hantz’ game, although they were told by the production crew that he was considered "one of the five most notorious male villains of all time".
During this season, an infamous rivalry developed between Hantz and "Boston Rob" Mariano. Early on, Mariano 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 her, which influenced Apostol to change his vote from Hantz to her. At Tribal Council, Hantz revealed an immunity idol and gave it to Shallow. The result was four votes for her, two votes for Hantz, and three votes for Apostol. Since Shallow's votes were negated, Apostol was eliminated. Later on, Jerri Manthey joined Hantz's alliance with Shallow and Danielle DiLorenzo and aided in Mariano's elimination.
The Heroes tribe began to blindly believe that there was an all-female alliance, headed up by Shallow, controlling the Villains tribe. James "J.T." Thomas, Jr., of the Heroes tribe, had found an immunity idol earlier, and gave it to Hantz during an immunity challenge with instructions to eliminate Shallow, but Hantz chose instead to vote out Courtney Yates. When the two tribes merged, Hantz gave his idol to Shallow, not knowing she already had an idol of her own. She gave the idols to Manthey and Sandra Diaz-Twine at Tribal Council. Manthey and Thomas received five votes each, but since Manthey's votes were negated, Thomas was eliminated. Later, DiLorenzo found a clue to an immunity idol on a reward and shared it with Hantz and his allies, but he ultimately discovered the idol for himself. He later showed it to Candice Woodcock in attempt to pull her into his alliance with the intention of eventually eliminating Diaz-Twine. At Tribal Council, he played the idol, but received no votes. Later, he arranged DiLorenzo's elimination in order to break up her strong alliance with Shallow.
At the final immunity challenge, Hantz edged out Shallow and Manthey by a few inches. He then chose to vote out Manthey, assuming he would get her vote for the Survivor title. His game, however, was panned by the jurors, all of whom refused to vote for Hantz in the end. Diaz-Twine ultimately triumphed over him and Shallow in a 6–3–0 vote, thus winning her second Sole Survivor title. Despite his shutout loss, Hantz's Reunion experience was similar to his last one in that he won the “Sprint Player of the Season” award and $100,000 for the second time.
Hantz returned for Survivor: Redemption Island, to face off with his old rival, "Boston Rob." By a random draw, Hantz joined the Zapatera tribe, which later threw the third immunity challenge and immediately targeted him and his ally, Stephanie Valencia. 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. His elimination from the game was finalized upon losing the Redemption Island duel to Matt Elrod. Deeply saddened by the loss, Hantz stated that this season would be his last on Survivor, although at the reunion show he indirectly stated that he had changed his mind.
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 Mariano, referring to him as a "Survivor whore".
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. 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."
Other television appearances
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. As a promotion for Redemption Island, Hantz appeared on the cover of TV Guide Magazine for the week of February 14, 2011, alongside Rob Mariano.
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. 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." 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. The show consisted of seven episodes and ran from April 28 to June 16, 2012.
Hantz is a self-made oilman and has an estimated net worth of $2 million. In Dayton, Texas, he runs an oil outfit known as Hantz Tankering Service with his father and brother. He also owns a bar in Lafayette, Louisiana, known as Bootleggers.
Hantz currently resides in Dayton, Texas. He and his wife, Melanie, have four children, two of whom are twin girls. Hantz's brother, Shawn, has a son named Brandon, who was a contestant on Survivor: South Pacific and later Survivor: Caramoan. Hantz also has a younger brother, Willie, who competed on Big Brother 14 before being expelled from the show due to violence.
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.
- List of TV Guide covers (2010s)
- Survivor: Samoa
- Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
- Survivor: Redemption Island
- "Russell H.". CBS. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Russell Hantz a villain to tribemates but a hero to Survivor viewers, May 13, 2010, Toronto Star article.
- Natalie White wins 'Survivor: Samoa,' but runner-up Russell Hantz calls her undeserving, December 21, 2009, New York Daily News article.
- 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' finale: Russell Hantz defeats Rupert Boneham for Sprint prize, May 16, 2010, blog.zap2it.com.
- 'Survivor' villain Russell Hantz: 'Sandra's not even in the Top 20 of all time', May 17, 2010, blog.zap2it.com.
- Gomez, Patrick (March 11, 2011). "Survivor's Russell Hantz: I Let My Fans Down". People. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Dehnart, Andy (January 31, 2011). "Survivor Spy Exposed". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- Knox, David (March 30, 2011). "Evil Russell voted out of Survivor". TV Tonight. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- "25 Greatest Survivor players of all time!". Survivor Oz. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Stanhope, Kate (May 19, 2010). "Survivor's Russell: I Am the Best". TV Guide. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- "Is Russell Hantz the greatest 'Survivor' player ever?". November 20, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Hutchins, Kathy (December 21, 2009). "Survivor: Samoa's Russell Hantz: 'I Am Really Good At This Game'". People. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Probst, Jeff (April 16, 2010). "Jeff Probst blogs 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' episode 9". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
- "RUSSELL HANTZ: 'Survivor' VILLAIN Lies About Dead Dog, Sabotages Own Team". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- Soll, Lindsay (June 14, 2010). "Teen Choice Awards 2010: First Round Of Nominees Announced". MTV. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Oz, Survivor (2014-06-25). "Ozcars 2014–25 Greatest Survivor Player Of All Time!". Survivor Oz. Retrieved 2016-06-12.
- "Texas two-step: Russell Hantz takes his Survivor villainy to a new venue". Uncle Barky. April 26, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
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- "Photos/ Survivor: Samoa". E! Online. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Ross, Dalton (September 18, 2009). "'Survivor' season premiere recap: The Face of Evil". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Dehnart, Andy (September 14, 2009). "'Survivor' villain promises to destroy own food". Today. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Warr, Philippa (September 25, 2009). "'Survivor Samoa': Episode 2 recap". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Warr, Philippa (November 6, 2009). "'Survivor: Samoa': Episode 8 recap". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Warr, Philippa (November 13, 2009). "'Survivor Samoa': Episode 9 recap". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Martin, Lara (November 20, 2009). "'Survivor: Samoa': Episode 10 recap". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Hamilton, Amanda (November 19, 2009). "'Survivor: Samoa' recap: The Day of Reckoning". Seacoastonline. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Warr, Philippa (December 4, 2009). "Survivor Samoa: Episode 12 recap". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Dehnart, Andy (December 21, 2009). "Natalie claims 'Survivor Samoa' crown". Today. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Rocchio, Christopher (December 21, 2009). "Exclusive: Russell Hantz talks about his 'Survivor: Samoa' "upset"". Reality TV World. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Benjamin Toff (December 22, 2009). "'Survivor' Reality Show Lives Up to Name". New York Times. p. C2.
- Rocchio, Christopher (December 22, 2009). "'Survivor' host Jeff Probst: Russell Hantz was the victim of a bitter jury". Reality TV World. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Dehnart, Andy (December 22, 2009). "RussellGotScrewed.com was registered nine days before Survivor Samoa's finale". Reality Blurred. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- "Russell Hantz". BuddyTV. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Russell". CBS. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Moorhouse, Drusilla (February 11, 2010). "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains: How Far Will Russell Go? His Costars Slip Us Some Scoop!". E! Online. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- "They're baaack! Boston Rob, Russell return to 'Survivor'". Today. January 18, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Dehnart, Andy (March 25, 2010). "Tyson votes himself out of Survivor and, worse, saves Russell". Reality Blurred. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Scarpa, Gina (April 2, 2010). "Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains - Episode 7 Recap". Reality Wanted. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- Scarpa, Gina (April 15, 2010). "Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains - Episode 9 Recap". Reality Wanted. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Scarpa, Gina (April 9, 2010). "Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains - Episode 8 Recap". Reality Wanted. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Broverman, Aaron (April 22, 2010). "'Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains': Episode 10 recap". Digital Spy. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- Scarpa, Gina (April 30, 2010). "Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains - Episode 11 Recap". Reality Wanted. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Scarpa, Gina (May 7, 2010). "Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains - Episode 12 Recap". Reality Wanted. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Batallones, Henrik (May 16, 2010). "'Survivor: Heroes vs Villains' Finale Recap: Let Me Tell You About Hard Work". Buddy TV. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- ""Survivor: Redemption Island" Begins". YouTube. CBS News. February 16, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Chen, Joyce (February 17, 2011). "'Survivor: Redemption Island' episode 1 recap: Rob and Russell kick off zany premiere". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Chen, Joyce (March 3, 2011). "'Survivor: Redemption Island' episode 3 recap: Russell gets voted out, Francesca leaves for good". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Dehnart, Andy (March 10, 2011). "Russell Hantz cries and whines his way out of Survivor". Reality Blurred. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Ross, Dalton (May 16, 2011). "'Survivor' season finale recap: The Right Player Won". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Ross, Dalton (March 10, 2011). "TV Survivor 'Survivor: Redemption Island' -- Russell threatens to sue tribemates and calls Boston Rob a 'Survivor whore'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Deutsch, Lindsay (February 14, 2011). "Russell, Rob fight for redemption in new 'Survivor'". USA Today. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- Floyd, Nancy (February 10, 2010). "Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains Castaways on David Letterman Tonight". Reality TV Magazine. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Kondology, Amanda (April 18, 2012). "A&E Series 'Flipped Off' Will Now Premiere Saturday, April 28 At 10 PM". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Cesternino, Rob (April 23, 2012). "Russell Hantz Returns: The 'Flipped Off' Mega Hantz-Cast". Rob Has a Website. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Walker, Dave (April 27, 2012). "'Survivor' weasel Russell Hantz returns to reality TV in 'Flipped Off'". NOLA.com. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Seidman, Robert (May 16, 2011). "'Survivor's' Russell Hantz Gets Own Show on A&E About House Flipping". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Cesternino, Rob (January 28, 2012). "The Greatest Russell Hantz Interview of All-Time". Rob Has a Website. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- 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 February 15, 2014.
- Leblanc, Rosie (May 13, 2012). "Reality Whore Russell Hantz Heading to Celebrity Apprentice?". Celeb Dirty Laundry. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
- Said, Sammy. "Russell Hantz Net Worth". The Richest. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
- Berkowitz, Lana (September 21, 2009). "Survivor's Evil Russell of Dayton would rather die than lose". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- Dehnart, Andy (September 29, 2009). "Russell Hantz will be on Survivor 20, his brother says". Reality Blurred. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- Hunter, Ann (April 29, 2010). "Survivor Super Villain Russell Hantz Arrested". Concrave.com. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Hughes, Jason (December 8, 2011). "Russell Hantz' Brother Visits Brandon, Isn't Pleased on 'Survivor' (VIDEO)". AOL TV. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Hughes, Jason (March 14, 2013). "'Survivor: Caramoan': Brandon Hantz Has An Epic Meltdown, Dumps Out His Tribe's Food (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Gomez, Patrick (July 6, 2012). "Russell Hantz's Brother Willie to Compete on Big Brother". People. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Dehnart, Andy (April 23, 2010). "Russell Hantz arrested for battery". Reality Blurred. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Labrecque, Jeff (April 23, 2010). "'Survivor' star Russell Hantz arrested in Louisiana". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Russell Hantz on Facebook
- Russell Hantz on Twitter
- Russell Hantz at the Internet Movie Database
- Russell Hantz biography for Survivor: Samoa at CBS.com
- Russell Hantz biography for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains biography at CBS.com
- Russell Hantz biography for Survivor: Redemption Island biography at CBS.com