SOUTH PORTLAND — After waiting 14 years, Dan Foley ended up with at least 13 hours of reality TV fame.

Plus an undisclosed amount of cash.

The 48-year-old postal worker from Gorham, who had been trying to get on “Survivor” since 2000, was voted off Wednesday night during the CBS reality show’s 13th episode of the season.

He was one of just six people still vying for the show’s $1 million prize. And he was one episode away from the finale.

When he was voted off, the more than 300 people who were watching the episode with him at Thatcher’s Restaurant in South Portland began booing and groaning. But Foley quickly jumped up on a small stage to grab a microphone, and promptly changed the mood.

“No sadness, all cheering, let’s hear it,” he said, getting loud applause and a standing ovation. “I had a good run, I played the game the way I wanted to, I stuck by my friends, and I have zero regrets.”

Foley’s “Survivor” odyssey isn’t over yet. He will be flown to Los Angeles, along with all of this season’s cast members, to take part in a live reunion show to air just after the “Survivor” finale on May 20. He will be a member of the “jury” of competitors who vote for the show’s winner.

Besides the trip to Los Angeles, all the contestants get some money for being on the show, though CBS won’t say how much. Publicists have said the amounts increase the longer someone lasts on the show.

Foley lasted longer than most. This season’s episodes began airing Feb. 25, with 18 competitors.

Foley said he still can’t disclose everything about being on the show, but he plans to host another party at Thatcher’s on May 27 to answer all the questions anyone might have.

Foley may have played the game his way, but it wasn’t always pretty.

One lowlight of his time on the show came during the April 8 episode, when he said on air that someone should “slap” fellow contestant Shirin Oskooi. Fans on Twitter called Foley’s behavior “truly repugnant” and Foley a “disgusting pig,” among other things.

Some competitors were seen on screen saying they didn’t like Foley or didn’t consider him a strong player. He came very close to being voted off on the May 6 episode, after competitors discovered he had purchased an “advantage” as part of the show. The advantage was a piece of paper giving him an extra vote at tribal council. He paid $480 for it.

But Foley also was seen on several episodes helping his team win immunity or reward challenges, including one where he swung a wrecking ball with deadly accuracy to smash some pots.


Foley’s greatest victory was that he continually convinced his competitors to keep him around, either because they saw him as a voting ally or as someone who was not a big threat to win it all.

On Wednesday’s episode, he looked like he’d hang on again. He had convinced all but two of his remaining five competitors to not vote him off. But of the other two, Mike Holloway had won an immunity challenge and Carolyn Rivera played a hidden immunity idol at the last second. So even though only two people voted for Foley and the rest voted for Rivera, Foley was the one who had to leave the competition.

“I played a good game, Carolyn just got me. Good on her. I have nothing but good feelings for her. I was just talking to her on the phone today,” Foley told the crowd at Thatcher’s.

The episodes that Foley appeared in were filmed in Nicaragua over 39 days last August and September.

At Thatcher’s on Wednesday, Foley was joined by Rodney Lavoie of Boston, who was in Nicaragua with Foley and is one of the show’s five finalists. Lavoie entertained the crowd by doing impersonations of his fellow castaways, which he did on the show as well.

At one point, Lavoie did a spot-on impersonation of Foley in an early episode, when he irritated other castaways by criticizing the use of bamboo to build a shelter.

“Bamboo is hollow, it won’t hold,” said Lavoie, overemphasizing the last syllables of bamboo and hollow. “I am a fat guy.”

Foley has hosted weekly viewing parties at eateries in Greater Portland since “Survivor” began airing, and has had other cast members join him. After Wednesday’s episode, he thanked the crowd for supporting him during the ups and downs of his 13 episodes of TV fame.

“For 14 years I have been chasing this dream, and I thank you all for sharing it with me,” he said.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: RayRouthier

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