Rudy Boesch

S8 Rudy Boesch

S1 Rudy Boesch

Contestant Profile
Born: January 20, 1928 (1928-01-20) (age 90)
Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Occupation: Retired Navy SEAL
Survivor Career
Version: United States
Tribe(s): Tagi
Finish: 3/16
Alliance(s): Tagi Alliance
Challenge Wins: 6
Votes Against: 8
Days Lasted: 38
Tribe(s): Saboga
Finish: 17/18
Challenge Wins: 1
Votes Against: 3
Days Lasted: 6
Rudolph Ernst "Rudy" Boesch is a contestant from Survivor: Borneo and Survivor: All-Stars.

A former Navy SEAL, Rudy is remembered for his begrudging friendship with Richard Hatch, being a part of the first ever voting pact, and being the oldest castaway to ever compete. He made it to the Final Three along with Richard and Kelly Wiglesworth. When he lost the Final Immunity Challenge to Kelly on Day 38, she voted him out that night, eliminating him one day before the Final Tribal Council.

He returned for Survivor: All-Stars where he aligned with Rupert Boneham and was voted out second due to an injury which made him a liability.


Retrieved from

Rudy joined the Navy in April 1945 and immediately volunteered for "secret and hazardous duty" with the Amphibious Scouts and Raiders, highly classified naval commando units. In 1951, six years after Scout and Raider training in Fort Pierce, Florida, Rudy completed UDT (Underwater Demolition Teams) training in Little Creek, Virginia, and was assigned to UDT-2 (redesigned as UDT-21 in 1953). He remained in UDT-21 for the next 11 years. During this period, he completed numerous specialized schools and was deployed routinely to the Mediterranean and Caribbean areas with the Naval Amphibious Forces. He became a proficient combat swimmer and expert in small-boat operations. In 1962, he was one of the 50 hand-selected officers of the original SEAL (Sea-Air-Land) Team TWO, becoming one of their most distinguished members.

In 1967, Rudy was advanced to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer and, between combat tours, served as the senior enlisted position of Command Master Chief. From 1968-1970, Rudy completed two combat deployments to Vietnam. Among the numerous awards he won the Bronze Star Medal for heroic action during more than 45 combat operations. During and after his stint in Vietnam, Rudy was delegated the "Chief SEAL" and set physical and operational standards at SEAL Team TWO.

In the late 1980s, Rudy became the Naval Special Warfare Community "Bull Frog," a distinguishing award presented to the SEAL serving the longest time on active duty. Instead of retiring, Rudy was selected as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to USSOCOM. In August 1988, Rudy headed to Tampa, Florida and entered into the "inner circle" of the Special Operations Command to advise on all enlisted matters of the Joint command. For his extraordinary performance, Rudy was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, an award not often given to an enlisted man.

Master Chief Rudy retired from the U.S. Navy after completing more than 45 years of continuous activity. He was honorably discharged on August 1, 1990. He and Marge have since been involved in extensive volunteer work. In 1992, he captained a 38' power boat during the "Americas Cup 1992" event. In 1996, he captained a support boat at the Summer Olympic Games. He continues as a Red Cross Volunteer and drives support vehicles and performs essential services during disaster-relief operations. He is also a volunteer for the Virginia Beach Police Department. Involved with many organizations, Rudy is a founding member of the UDT-SEAL Association and a founding member of the Association's Board of Directors, having once served as their President. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Special Operations Fund.

Rudy and Marge have three children: Ellen Marie, Patricia Ann and Barbara Jean, and one granddaughter, Kelsey. They reside permanently in Virginia Beach, Virginia. His birth date is January 20, 1928.[1]

Boesch served in the U.S. military as a Navy SEAL team leader, completing over 45 years continuous active duty. From 1968–1970, Boesch completed two combat deployments to Vietnam. Boesch earned the Bronze Star for heroic action during more than 45 combat operations. In 1967, Boesch was promoted to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer. During and after his service in Vietnam, Boesch was designated the "Chief SEAL" (a.k.a "Bullfrog"), and set physical and operational standards at SEAL Team TWO. Boesch was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal as Command Master Chief Petty Officer of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Boesch was honorably discharged from the Navy on August 1, 1990.[2] Rudy and Marge have three children, Ellen Marie, Patricia Ann and Barbara Jean, and one granddaughter, Kelsey.



Rudy immediately began his time in Borneo by taking charge of his Tagi tribe and instructing the group on various decisions that would need to be made for survival in the wild. This bossy attitude quickly alienated several of his tribemates, and when Tagi became the first tribe to attend Tribal Council, Rudy received votes from three of the women of the tribe. His vote went to the player the majority of the tribe felt had cost them the first challenge, Sonja Christopher.

Rudy was not one to change, however, and he continued to be himself as the game progressed. Realizing he needed to fit in with the group, he found himself appreciating the skills and wisdom of Richard Hatch, a fellow contestant with wilderness experience. Rudy had more time to bond with his tribemates but still became a target at the third Tribal Council of the game (the second that the Tagi tribe attended). Fortunately for him, the men of the tribe and Susan Hawk sided with his work ethic over Stacey Stillman, who was considered prissy, and Rudy's vote, along with 4 others, sent her packing. Rudy received two votes from the women but was clearly becoming more respected by his tribe.

As time progressed, it became clear that numbers were of the utmost importance in the game, and while Rudy had previously been opposed to any idea of an alliance (as were many of the other players in the game), he eventually came to accept the fact that an alliance would provide him with great security. When Richard approached him with such a proposition, Rudy took the offer and became a part of a four-person alliance with Richard, Susan, and Kelly Wiglesworth that would run the game from that point on. In the fifth Tribal Council, the alliance targeted the outsider Dirk Been, who became their first victim in a 4-1-1 vote.

The tribes merged on Day 20 and Rudy found himself in a position very much like the one he had encountered when he first began the game. This time, however, he had an alliance on his side, and none of the Pagong tribe seemed to be playing the same way. With Greg Buis winning the first individual Immunity Challenge, the Tagi 4 alliance was forced to choose someone other than Pagong's biggest physical threat. They all voted for Gretchen Cordy, and their four votes proved to be enough to vote her off, as every other vote was cast for a unique player. It was clear that the Tagi 4 - Rudy included - had their head in the game. After all, it had been Rudy's decision to target Gretchen as Pagong's leader.

Greg was the next to go, as the Tagi 4 was able to eliminate Pagong's biggest challenge threat. The younger tribe still had not pulled themselves together to counter the threat posed by Tagi's alliance.

This would change, however, in the next episode, when Jenna Lewis and Colleen Haskell shared a reward feast and discussed turning the game around and overthrowing the Tagi 4. The minority was not able to get the votes together, with Sean Kenniff employing his alphabet voting strategy yet again, and Rudy was able to remain in the game and in a powerful position. This episode also marked Rudy's first and only individual immunity win, where he was able to defeat his competitors in a mental challenge. Jenna ended up getting the boot 4-3-1 over Richard and Sean.

Thought Kelly faltered from the alliance and animosity grew between her and Susan, the Tagi 4 stayed strong as they booted Gervase, Colleen, and Sean in the next three Tribal Councils.

With just themselves left in the game, Tagi Alliance was finally forced to turn on each other. Kelly won another crucial Immunity Challenge, leaving only Rudy, Richard, and Susan vulnerable at Tribal Council. By this point in the game, Rudy and Richard had grown extremely close and had a Final 2 deal with each other. They both voted for Susan. Susan and Kelly voted for Richard, but in a tiebreaker, Kelly changed her mind and voted for Susan, sending the truck driver packing.

Rudy was the biggest threat in the game at this point, having garnered more respect for his straightforwardness and blunt, down-to-earth personality than Kelly or Richard. At the Final Immunity Challenge, Richard stepped out of the challenge, claiming that he knew both of the remaining castaways would take him to the Final Tribal Council. This left Rudy to face off against Kelly, who had won several of the last few challenges. Rudy fought hard to win, but ultimately removed his hand from the idol during a revolution of positions and lost the challenge. Kelly booted him at the penultimate Tribal Council, deeming that he was more of a jury threat than Richard was.

As a juror, Rudy voted to give Richard the million dollars, keeping to his word and alliance with the corporate trainer.

Voting History

Rudy's Voting History
Episode Rudy's
Voted Against
1 Sonja Kelly, Sonja, Stacey
2 Tagi Tribe Immune
3 Stacey Kelly, Stacey
4 Tagi Tribe Immune
5 Dirk Sean
6 Tagi Tribe Immune
7 Gretchen Gretchen
8 Greg -
9 Jenna Individual Immunity
10 Gervase -
11 Colleen -
12 Sean -
13 Susan;
Ineligible Kelly
Voted Off, Day 38
Voted for
Sole Survivor

^1 In The Final Four, the vote ended with a 2-2 tie between Richard and Susan, forcing a revote. Rudy did not change his vote on the revote.


Rudy returned to play for a second time in the All-Stars season, where he became part of the Saboga tribe. He formed an alliance with Rupert Boneham as both parties identified each other as loyal players. On Day 3, he helped his alliance with the non winners vote off former Sole Survivor Tina Wesson. After Saboga lost the second Immunity Challenge, he thought his tribe was voting off the last former winner on their tribe Ethan Zohn. Unfortunately for Rudy, his tribe saw him as a burden coupled with an ankle injury during the Reward Challenge and everyone (minus Rupert) voted him out. 

Voting History

Rudy's Voting History
Episode Rudy's
Voted Against
1 Tina -
2 Ethan Ethan,
Jenna L., Jerri
Voted Off, Day 6



Statistics of Rudy Boesch
Seasons competed: 2
Days lasted: 44
Challenge Wins
Tribal wins: 6
Individual wins: 1
Total wins: 7
Tribal Council
Total votes received: 11
Exile Island
Times exiled: N/A
Redemption Island
Duels won: N/A
Days spent on Redemption Island: N/A
  • To this day, Rudy is the oldest person to appear on the show, being 72 in Survivor: Borneo and 75 in Survivor: All-Stars.
    • Rudy is the only Survivor contestant born in the 1920s.
    • He is the first person to compete on Survivor in their seventies. He would later be followed by Joe del Campo, who was 71 during Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.
  • Rudy is the first contestant to ever give a confessional.
  • Rudy is the first contestant from Virginia.
  • Rudy is the first person to receive votes at more than one Tribal Council and still be safe.
  • Rudy is the first Tagi member to win an individual challenge in Survivor: Borneo.
  • Rudy is the oldest contestant to win an individual Immunity Challenge.
  • Every time Rudy voted in Borneo, he voted for the person who was eliminated at that Tribal Council.
  • Instead of asking a question at the Final Tribal Council of Survivor: Borneo, Rudy said that he felt stupid about the day before when he lost the Immunity Challenge and was voted out.
  • Rudy is the first castaway to place 17th in a season.
  • Rudy is the first castaway to be voted out twice in multiple seasons and the second overall, after Burton Roberts from Survivor: Pearl Islands.
  • Survivor: Samoa castaway Brett Clouser in an interview said Rudy is his favorite Survivor castaway.[7]
  • According to his profile Survivor: Heroes vs. VillainsRupert Boneham listed Rudy as the previous Survivor castaway he respected the most.