Richard Hatch. After 39 days of hard island living, the 39-year old corporate trainer from Newport, Rhode Island, won Survivor. For his troubles and toils, he takes home a million dollars, not to mention a Pontiac Aztek. Viewers may recall Rich's prediction on Day 1 on the island: "I've got the million-dollar check written in my name."
The final three days of island living saw a nightly Tribal Council. The Final Four castaways (Rudy, Rich, Sue and Kelly) were narrowed down to three, then a final two.
Sue was the first to go. Kelly won immunity at the Fallen Comrades Immunity Challenge, a competition in which the final four were quizzed on how much they knew about their former voted-off tribemates. Kelly knew the most, but Sue was a close second. In last place was Rich, ironic given that he's a communications expert yet seemed to know the least about his former tribemates; Rich, however, said he was not surprised by the outcome. With her third consecutive immunity in hand, Kelly was untouchable. Ultimately, after the first tie vote (between Rich and Sue), Kelly switched her vote to join Rudy against Sue. "Sorry," she said after voting off her former island confidante.
Fire Walk With Me
With Sue gone, it was left to Rich, Kelly, and Rudy to endure the rite of passage necessary to be crowned winner of Survivor. Starting at dawn, just hours after voting Sue off, the trio slathered their bodies in gray mud and then walked on hot coals. Finally, each had to place one hand on the Immunity Idol. The last castaway to remove their hand would gain immunity.
As the equatorial sun rose higher and higher in the sky, all three maintained contact with the carved token. However, Rich removed his hand voluntarily when offered a snack of orange slice ( Rich removes his hand voluntarily). At four hours and 11 minutes in, Rudy inadvertently removed his while shifting positions, giving the contest to Kelly, now with four consecutive immunity rewards in hand and a guaranteed spot in the final two.
This sealed Rudy's fate. Kelly cast the lone vote at that night's Tribal Council, tossing Rudy off the island after 38 heroic days. The final tribal council would come down to just Kelly and Rich. The final votes would be cast by the seven-member jury of Sean, Colleen, Rudy, Sue, Greg, Jenna, and Gervase.
Though it's hard to pinpoint exactly which action won victory for Rich, Sue's impassioned speech to the jury will long be remembered as vital to the cause. Saying she "couldn't decide whether to vote for the snake [Rich] or the rat [Kelly]," Sue ultimately argued that the jury decide the way "Mother Nature intended it to be, for the snake to eat the rat." Greg, true to character, merely had Rich and Kelly pick a number between 1 and 10. Jenna asked an interesting question: If Rich or Kelly could choose two other castaways to be in the final two, who would they be? Rich picked Rudy and Greg; Kelly picked Sonja and Gretchen.
In the end, however, it was just one vote that swung the game to Rich. But that was enough. He rose, and then calmly accepted the congratulations of Kelly and the jury.
Rich has lived on a deserted tropical island for 39 days, been bitten by a million bugs, and likes to parade naked. A great irony to his success is an aversion to dirt. It turns out that in real life Rich is a neat freak, and avoids getting dirty at all costs.
How did Rich celebrate his newfound wealth that night? After a few token sips of champagne, he took a long shower, slept in a bed, and caught a 6 a.m. boat back to civilization.
Rich's token souvenir of his island time is the framed "Rowdy Rudy's Diner" sign Kelly stitched early in their island life. It formerly hung in the Rattana cooking area, but will now decorate Rich's home.
Show Me the Money
Rich, the consummate strategist, already has plans for the money. First, he'll finish redecorating his Rhode Island home. The rest will be invested, with a significant portion allotted to a home for troubled youth.
As For the Othersâ€¦
Rudy almost won Survivor. What would he have done with the million dollars? "Give it to my kids," says the father of three. "I got a good pension. I don't need the money."