Sur­vivor: one world

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sur­vivor (2000-cur­rent) is full of crazy char­ac­ters and few can match up to 66-year-old plas­tic sur­geon greg smith from sur­vivor: one world (2011). he’s done ev­ery­thing from play­ing the pi­ano at church to be­ing an am­a­teur wrestler. and that’s not where it ends… his tarzan nick­name isn’t new – greg’s been call­ing him­self that for years and ad­mits that “when a surgery goes fan­tas­ti­cally, i’ll call out the tarzan yell in the op­er­at­ing room”. he also iden­ti­fies with the character as they’re both “brave, manly and noble”. the board-cer­ti­fied plas­tic sur­geon from texas has been mar­ried to 60-year-old terri for more than 30 years. he nick­named her ra­pun­zel be­cause she has long blonde hair. the cou­ple have trav­elled a lot and that’s in­spired their house, which they’ve dec­o­rated them­selves. there’s a stuffed po­lar bear in one room, a life­size go­rilla in a bath­room and a full-size ve­loci­rap­tor di­nosaur in the gym. they’ve also got a “christ­mas room” and only ever sleep in it on christ­mas eve. greg’s loved the tale of peter pan since he was six and he’s got a tiny ob­ses­sion with tin­ker bell – terri’s bought him more than 30 ce­ramic fig­urines. and co­in­ci­den­tally, terri and tin­ker bell were “born” in the same year (1953), when dis­ney re­leased the first peter pan movie. although he lost 12kg and de­vel­oped a pro­tein de­fi­ciency dur­ing the game, greg says that “i’m im­mensely glad that i did sur­vivor. i am an ad­ven­turer and it was an ad­ven­ture”. why does he think the cast­aways didn’t al­ways un­der­stand him. says greg, “the big bang the­ory – you know who shel­don is? if some­thing’s too over some­one’s head… i know ther­mal dy­nam­ics and i was ex­plain­ing it to them”. greg’s spare time is filled with his hob­bies: en­to­mol­ogy (in­sect study), 4x4ing in his jeep and pri­ma­tol­ogy (study­ing liv­ing and ex­tinct pri­mates).

tarzan’s one of the cra­zier sur­vivor stars – and that says a lot.

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