|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' performance on Survivor was met with a mixed reception. Many consider him to be one of the show's greatest contestants of all time, 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 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 Rob Mariano.
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. 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. He later located a new idol, again without clues, and played it at the next Tribal Council, where he received seven votes, eliminating Kelly (who received the other four votes). Later, Shambo and John joined Hantz' alliance and eliminated Laura. Hantz then arranged John's elimination in the next vote.
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. Ultimately, Hantz lost the game to his close ally, Natalie White, by a jury vote of seven to two 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 Natalie. During the reunion show, Hantz offered Natalie $10,000 and then $100,000 for the Sole Survivor title, but she declined. 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.
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
Hantz was invited back for Survivor's twentieth season, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, as a last-minute substitute for Shane Powers and 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 5 most notorious male villains of all time".
During this season, an infamous rivalry developed between Hantz and "Boston Rob". Early on, 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. Later on, Jerri Manthey joined Hantz' alliance with Parvati and Danielle and aided in Boston Rob’s elimination.
The Heroes tribe began to blindly believe that there was an all-female alliance, headed up by Parvati, controlling the Villains tribe. J.T. of the Heroes tribe, who had found an immunity idol earlier, gave it to Hantz during an immunity challenge with instructions to eliminate Parvati, but Hantz chose instead to vote out Courtney. When the two tribes merged, Hantz gave his idol to Parvati, not knowing Parvati already had an idol of her own. Parvati gave the idols to Jerri and Sandra Diaz-Twine at Tribal Council. Jerri and J.T. received five votes each, but since Jerri’s votes were negated, J.T. was eliminated. Later, 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 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. Later, Hantz arranged Danielle's elimination in order to break up her strong alliance with Parvati.
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. 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.
Survivor: Redemption Island
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. 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. Deeply saddened by the loss, Hantz stated that the season would be his last on Survivor, although he later indirectly stated at the reunion show 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 Rob, 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
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' 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.
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.
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- 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