Boesch’s Record as Oldest ‘Survivor’ Player Still Stands
Boesch, a retired Navy SEAL, appeared on the very first season of Survivor at the age of 72. He made it to the final three where he was eliminated by Kelly Wiglesworth prior to the final Tribal Council. He then appeared on the show again for Survivor: All-Stars, the eighth season of the show, but this time around he was the second person voted out. He was 75 years old at the time, beating his own record of the oldest person to play Survivor, a record that still stands.
In his time on Survivor, he became known for his brutally honest take on things, not really caring too much what anyone thought about him and not afraid to tell it like was. When he was voted out on All-Stars, it was a rare Tribal Council where no one really wanted to see the evicted contestant leave.
Boesch Was Survived by Three Daughters
Boesch was born January 20, 1938, in Rochester, New York. He joined the United States Navy at the age of 17 and later served two tours in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for heroic service.
Boesch was survived by three daughters; he was preceded in death by his wife, Marge, who died in 2008.
When he passed, Survivor contestants and fans took to social media to remember the reality TV icon. Season one winner Richard Hatch wrote, “Ours was an interesting bond, Dear Rudy! You and I helped open minds and undermine predjudices. While your time here has passed, you will remain loved and iconic, dear friend!”
Host Jeff Probst wrote on Instagram, “The Survivor family has lost a legend. Rudy Boesch passed at the age of 91. He played in the first season of Survivor at the age of 72. He is one of the most iconic and adored players of all time. And he served our country as a 45-year Navy SEAL. Rudy is a true American hero.”
Later, Hatch recorded a video with more thoughts about his good friend from the show. He praised Boesch’s no-nonsense demeanor and said he was so proud of their friendship.
“He did things for the show that still today people don’t realize, I think. I’m so proud to have interacted with him in the ways we did, to share how absurd it is that people can’t get along,” said Hatch. “People from different backgrounds, from different cultures, from different mindsets — because we can. Those people who put Survivor together chose Rudy because they knew he was a crotchety old bastard. A 72-year-old Navy SEAL who they counted on being really absolutely incapable of bonding with the Army guy who happens to be gay, nevermind fat, me, on Survivor. So instantly on the boat I looked at Rudy and made him part of my alliance.”
Hatch added, “I could see it, I could tell. I got who Rudy was … he’s amazing and I love and respect people who shoot from the hip and say what they’re really thinking.”