Twenty-one years after “Survivor” Season 1 became a ratings juggernaut for CBS, runner-up Kelly Wiglesworth is speaking out about fan-fave castaway Rudy Boesch. Rudy passed away in 2019 at age 91 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. When EW recently asked Kelly about her biggest “Survivor” regret, she responded simply by saying, “Not giving the win to Rudy.”
Let’s recap. In Borneo’s final immunity challenge (watch above), Kelly, Rudy and Richard Hatch were tasked with holding their hands on the immunity idol for as long as they could. Richard voluntarily gave up after two and a half hours, and then Rudy accidentally let go after the four-hour mark, resulting in a victory for the then-22-year-old river guide. Kelly then solely got to choose whom to eliminate (Rudy) and whom to bring to the final two (Richard). At the final tribal council, the jury voted Richard as the winner of the $1 million prize in a tight 4-3 vote over Kelly.
By announcing she “regrets” not letting Rudy win the challenge, Kelly seems to be throwing a little shade at Richard. After all, it’s widely believed that the conservative NAVY Seal have gone on to win the show if he was in the final two, as the jury liked him much more than the cutthroat corporate trainer.
All three of Borneo’s Top 3 castaways returned in future seasons of the CBS reality TV show. Rudy and Richard competed in “Survivor: All-Stars” (Season 7) while fans voted Kelly into “Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance” (Season 31).
As for what she’s been up to over the past few years, Kelly explains, “I’ve been raising my 7-year-old-son, Rio, and working on some exciting new projects. I can’t mention anything yet, but I’ve recently signed with Armada Partners and Gersh Agency. They are a talent management and production company, and we are working on some great stuff together right now. I am also the new communications manager for Friends of the River.”
The 41st season of “Survivor” is right around the corner after finally wrapping production in Fiji due to a year-long delay brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s expected to air on CBS this fall in its normal Wednesday-at-8pm time slot, with Jeff Probst returning as host. Click through our photo gallery below to learn everything there is to know about “Survivor: Season 41.”