Though originally a member of the winless and destitute Ravu tribe, Earl built a lasting alliance, most notably with Yau-Man Chan. His charisma, likability, and natural leadership skills earned him the title of Sole Survivor, as he became the first person to win the jury vote unanimously and the second African-American to win Survivor.
Retrieved from CBS.com
Originally from Kansas City, Kansas, Earl Cole attended business school at the University of Washington in Seattle and received a National Scholastic Achievement Award before moving to Southern California. He is currently a Senior Advertising Executive who creates and manages new media strategies, brand marketing and advertising budgets for major accounts. He formerly worked as a marketing manager at a cable company, a sales analyst for a film company and a writer's assistant for a television comedy series.
In addition, Cole also works as a composer and is an accomplished musician. He plays multiple instruments (piano, saxophone, guitar, violin… and a little bit of drums). He also enjoys playing chess, hiking, watching movies, billiards and playing basketball. He considers himself to be very intelligent, creative, athletic and confident, with a witty sense of humor. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
Earl currently resides in Santa Monica, California. His birth date is April 9, 1971.
When Sylvia Kwan was tasked to divide the other 18 castaways on Day 3, she assigned Earl on the Ravu tribe, which was later forced to live in squalor after they lost the first Immunity Challenge. While the tribe almost set to extinction due to its living conditions and failure in challenges, Earl formed a close bond with tribemate Yau-Man Chan that would evolve into them becoming close allies throughout the course of the season.
After Ravu lost the Immunity Challenge on Day 6, the Moto tribe sent Earl to Exile Island, allowing him to skip Tribal Council. On the island, Earl found a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol which he shared with Yau-Man. Ravu's extensive losing streak had allowed the two to receive more clues during their respective times on Exile Island, agreeing to find the idol together.
During Tribe Switch on Day 15, a luck of a draw sent Earl and Yau-Man to the new Moto tribe, the luxuries of which they also enjoyed. In this tribe, Earl formed the Syndicate Alliance along with original Ravu allies Yau-Man and Michelle Yi, as well as original Moto outsider Cassandra Franklin. On one occasion, Earl and Yau-Man again attempted to locate a Hidden Immunity Idol with the same strategy as they had implemented on Ravu days before; Earl led the tribe in trying to retrieve Moto's stranded boat, while Yau-Man stayed behind and used the tribe's improved tools to look for the idol. This time, Yau-Man was successful in finding the idol and later shared the information with Earl. With the advantage of the luxurious camp, as well as Ravu's continuing dysfunction, Moto won the remaining Immunity Challenges before the merge.
After the tribes merged into the Bula Bula tribe on Day 22, the new tribe returned to the original Moto camp, only to be surprised to see it stripped of its luxurious amenities. At the next Immunity Challenge, a twist divided the Bula Bula tribe into two teams of five, with only the losing team attending Tribal Council immediately after. Earl's team, consisting of Boo, Cassandra, Edgardo and Yau-Man, won immunity. Earl, despite escaping the vote, failed to save Michelle, who was outnumbered by three of the four members of the rival Four Horsemen alliance, much to Earl's displeasure.
Though the Syndicate Alliance still had a 5-4 numbers advantage over the Horsemen, one Horsemen, Dreamz Herd, who was upset of being left out of knowing about his alliance possessing the Hidden Immunity Idol on Ravu, informed them that Mookie Lee had it, and later, Alex Angarita. Unsure of where Dreamz' loyalties truly were, Earl's ally Stacy Kimball suggested to target the unprotected Edgardo instead. At an eventful Tribal Council on Day 27, Alex played the idol, but Earl and his alliance swerved the vote to an unsuspecting Edgardo, tipping the scales in favor of the Syndicate Alliance. Earl later found the rehidden Ravu idol after being sent by Boo who won the Day 31 Reward Challenge.
When Yau-Man sent himself to Exile Island on Day 34, he received another clue to another Hidden Immunity Idol, which he shared with Earl, who later found it on Day 36. That night, Earl and Yau-Man were left out of the loop as Boo, Cassandra, Dreamz, and Stacy attempted to target Yau-Man after being alarmed of Yau-Man's intentions when he made a deal with Dreamz at the Reward Challenge. At Tribal Council, Yau-Man picked up a cue from Stacy suggesting that the alliance would split their votes. Earl and Yau-Man voted for Stacy, and Yau-Man used his idol to send her to the jury. The following night, Earl played his idol as it was the last time he could do so, but received no votes and Boo was unanimously voted out. After Dreamz won the Final Immunity Challenge on Day 38, he reneged on his deal with Yau-Man and did not give him the Immunity Necklace at Tribal Council. With the agreement broken, Earl joined Cassandra and Dreamz in voting out Yau-Man.
At the Final Tribal Council, Earl was praised for a stellar strategic game but was chastised for betraying Yau-Man. Earl explained he had to eliminate Yau-Man as he could have defeated him. Earl's agreeable game play, combined with the jury's discontent over Dreamz' multiple betrayals and Cassandra's perceived coattail-riding, awarded him the first unanimous Survivor victory, winning all nine jury votes.
|2||On Exile Island1|
|4||Ravu Tribe Immune|
|6||Moto Tribe Immune|
|7||Moto Tribe Immune|
|8||Moto Tribe Immune|
|Alex, Boo, Edgardo, Lisi, Michelle,|
Mookie, Rocky, Stacy, Yau-Man
|Sole Survivor, Day 39|
^1 In "Snakes Are Misunderstood... We Have an Understanding Now", Moto sent Earl to Exile Island, granting him immunity from Ravu's Tribal Council.
^2 In "You've Got That Puzzled Look", Earl used a Hidden Immunity Idol, but did not negate any votes against him.
- In September 2007, Earl hosted a special preview on the TV Guide Network for the upcoming season, Survivor: China.
- Earl had an endowment with the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he established the Earl Cole Fund, which is a charitable foundation for children with Legg–Calvé–Perthes disease, a hip bone disease he suffered from as a child.
- In the summer of 2009, Earl, along with the other first eighteen Survivor winners, appeared on a TV Guide special "Survivor Millionaires: Where Are They Now?"
- On January 9, 2010, Earl attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.
- Earl continues to work on his charities and currently travels overseas to promote them.
- In May 29, 2010, Earl married his fiancée, Los Angeles-based pharmacist, Shelley Lee. They have two daughters: Kaia JoAnn (born November 10, 2017) and Alani Ellyse (born April 30, 2019).
- Earl was asked to compete on The Amazing Race while on a date with his girlfriend (now wife) Shelley. However, Shelley declined the offer. Earl was later asked to compete on Survivor instead.
- Earl never watched Survivor and hardly knew what it was when he was recruited to be on Fiji, only two days prior to filming.
- Earl is the first person to play a Hidden Immunity Idol "by default" at the last time one could be played.
- Earl is the first player to play a Hidden Immunity Idol and ultimately win the season.
- Earl is the first black to win the title of Sole Survivor and the second African-American winner overall, following Vecepia Towery, who won Marquesas. They would be followed by Jeremy Collins in Cambodia, Wendell Holland in Ghost Island, and Maryanne Oketch in Survivor 42.
- Earl is the first Sole Survivor to receive every jury vote. He was followed by J.T. Thomas in Tocantins, John Cochran in Caramoan, Jeremy Collins in Cambodia, and Adam Klein in Millennials vs. Gen X.
- At the Survivor: Fiji Reunion Show, host Jeff Probst mistakenly stated that Earl never received a vote. In fact, he had received a stray vote from Rita Verreos in "This Is Not Survival... It's a Thrival".
- Earl was invited to compete for Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Blood vs. Water, Game Changers, and Winners at War all of which he had to decline due to work obligations. Furthermore, Earl rejected the offer to compete on Winners at War to take care of his expectant wife, who underwent labor less than a month before filming began.
- Millennials vs. Gen X winner Adam Klein named his season's merged tribe, Vinaka as a tribute to Earl, who initially vouched for the name before settling with Bula Bula.
|Sole Survivor Titleholder
|Survivor: Fiji Castaways|