Mark Caruso
S23 Mark Caruso
Contestant Profile
Born: July 7, 1963 (1963-07-07) (age 55)
Hometown: Forest Hills, New York
Occupation: Retired NYPD Detective
Survivor Career
Version: United States
South Pacific
Tribe(s): Savaii
Finish: 17/18
Challenge Wins: 2
Votes Against: 6
Days Lasted: 9

Mark Anthony Caruso (also known as Papa Bear) is a contestant from Survivor: South Pacific.


Retrieved from

Name (Age): Mark Caruso (48)
Tribe Designation: Savaii
Current residence: Forest Hills, New York
Occupation: Retired NYPD Detective
Personal claim to fame: I was a NYCPD Morgue Detective for 20 years and I retired with honors from the mayor and police commissioner.
Inspiration in life: My deceased Aunt Mary, who brought us to her home, raised us and gave us a great life.
Hobbies: Gym and all that goes with it, spending as much time in the sun as I can and meeting new people/making new friends.
Pet peeves: Know-it-alls and people with "I am better than you" attitudes.
3 words to describe you: Silly, flirty and sensitive.
Survivor contestant you are most like: Funny, sarcastic and lovable.
Reason for being on Survivor: I want to experience being stripped of life's luxuries that we all take for granted and survive with the bare essentials.
Why you think you'll "survive"Survivor: I am attentive and caring and have listening skills that can be supportive to my team and others. I love to work hard and have proven throughout my life that I will be a leader.
Why you think you will be the Sole Survivor:People tend to like me because I am an honest person even though I am sarcastic and an "in your face" man. I am considered a real person heart, mind and soul.[1]


When the Savaii tribe bonded at the beach on Day 1, Mark openly revealed that he was gay, but stressed that they should overlook this fact and just focus on surviving. Furthermore, he insisted on being called "Papa Bear."

Papa Bear, along with Dawn Meehan, were in a precarious situation, being the eldest members of the tribe, they were outsiders from the majority, who were younger. With this, he warned Dawn, who was struggling to assimilate to the harsh realities of the game, to toughen up, or it will be her undoing.

When Savaii lost the inaugural Immunity Challenge, Papa Bear and Dawn were in particular trouble, but were spared when the whole tribe decided to eliminate the contestant who performed the weakest at the challenge, Semhar Tadesse. After Tadesse's elimination, Papa Bear, Dawn, and John Cochran were again in line for elimination for being alliance outsiders, but were spared when Savaii won its first Immunity Challenge on Day five. At the third Immunity Challenge on Day eight, which required intense winching, Savaii, especially Papa Bear struggled to pull the winch with rhythm, narrowly losing the to rival Upolu tribe. Returning to camp, Papa Bear's dismal performance and Cochran's weak physique was considered by the majority alliance. However, Ozzy already confirmed to Cochran that Papa Bear is going next. Weary of his standing, Papa Bear directly asked the majority who are they voting for, in which Jim answered Cochran. Seeing through their lie, his only chance was finding the Hidden Immunity Idol, which unknown to many, Ozzy had already found. Elyse caught Papa Bear unusually sprinting in the woods, information she relayed to her alliance partners. With Tribal Council just minutes away, Papa Bear fashioned a fake Immunity Idol, hoping to avoid getting voted out.

At Tribal Council, seeing through Papa Bear's bluff, Ozzy's alliance swung the vote to Papa Bear's direction, sending him to Redemption Island after a 6-1-1 vote. On Day nine, Papa Bear was ultimately eliminated from the game after narrowly losing the second Redemption Island duel against Christine Shields Markoski.

Voting History

Mark's Voting History
Episode Mark's
Voted Against
1 Semhar -
2 Savaii Tribe Immune
3 Jim Cochran, Dawn, Elyse,
Keith, Ozzy, Whitney
Voted Off, Day 8
4 On Redemption Island
Eliminated, Day 9


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  • Mark was the only male contestant of Survivor: South Pacific to not make the merge.
  • In an interview, Papa Bear revealed that he actually found the hidden clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol, a scene that was not seen, nor explored in the actual episode.[2]
  • Mark was the oldest member of Savaii.