While playing the role of the villain on “Survivor” often puts a target on your back and ensures that you’re eliminated early, a small group have actually gone on to claim victory. From the diabolically cutthroat Richard Hatch back in the first season to Tony Vlachos, a lying and cheating police officer who left his badge at home, we’ve tracked down every villain who won the $1 million prize. Click through our “Survivor” photo gallery above to see the list.
Back in 2000 when Richard first played “Survivor: Borneo,” the concept of a reality TV villain was still in its infancy stage. In fact, Richard’s way of playing the game — from creating alliances to being boastful about eliminating people — helped shape the villain of today. “I’ve got the million-dollar check written already,” Richard bragged on Day 1. “It’s that kind of cocky attitude that makes people really hate your guts.” He ended up being correct on both accounts.
When Richard returned for the first “Survivor: All-Stars” season, he notably changed the way he played. Instead of scrambling to create alliances with other castaways who knew fully well what he was capable of, Richard became more of a provider. “I can sit around and do absolutely nothing, and they’re just thrilled that I’m there to provide them fish,” he said confidently. Unfortunately, a tribe swap caught Richar off-guard and he became the fifth person eliminated.
A more recent villain, Tony got a kick out of double-crossing his allies in “Survivor: Cagayan — Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty.” As one of the “Brawn” members, Tony infamously created spy shacks where he could secretly listen to his tribe mates. Tony had a numbers advantage throughout the entire game and never once cast a vote for someone who didn’t end up going home. His closeness with Woo Hwang paid off in the Final 3 when Woo won immunity and foolishly decided to bring Tony to the end instead of Kass McQuillen.
Tony returned several seasons later in “Survivor: Game Changers” and was eliminated on Day 6. He and Sandra Diaz-Twine were the only two winners on their tribe and despite initially trying to create a bond, they soon turned on each other. Sandra managed to convince the entire tribe to vote out Tony for his erratic behavior, and the police officer left with his tail between his legs.
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