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Survivor Wiki

Gervase Peterson is a contestant from Survivor: Borneo and Survivor: Blood vs. Water.

In Borneo, Gervase came under fire from his tribemates for his sexist comment, "Girls are the stupidest things on the planet next to cows", which would later cause his ally and friend Joel Klug to be voted out. He would later become the second-to-last Pagong member to be voted out systemically by the dominant Tagi Alliance after the merge.

Returning 13 years later in Blood vs. Water, Gervase formed a close bond with Tyson Apostol and created a small alliance with him within the majority Galang Alliance. His outburst at the first Immunity Challenge of the season would ultimately play a huge factor in his niece Marissa Peterson's elimination. Following the merge, he co-led the newly formed Singles Alliance with Tyson and took control of the game. After successfully getting rid of Caleb Bankston once he and Hayden Moss tried to renege on the alliance, Gervase's accidental reveal of Ciera Eastin being on the outs of their four-person alliance forced the second ever rock draw, in which his alliance with Tyson and Monica Culpepper came out on top, allowing them to sail to the Final Tribal Council. However, the jury saw his gameplay as lacking compared to both, leading to him receiving no votes and placing third.


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Gervase hails from Philadelphia and currently lives in Willingboro, New Jersey. He is a youth basketball coach and his previous occupations include an auditor, a field representative for Nielsen Media Research and a test technician for I.B.M. He attended Lincoln Technical Institute for two years.

Gervase's proudest accomplishment is living to the age of 30. His perfect day would consist of playing with his kids, enjoying a game of basketball and football, followed up by a large incredible meal. His hero is his mother for all the sacrifice and love she gave after his father passed way when he was fifteen years old.

His three favorite hobbies are watching movies, basketball/football and anything revolving around actress Salma Hayek. Gervase describes himself as confident and responsible, but has trouble dealing with indecisive people who are afraid of trying new things. His birth date is Nov. 2, 1969.[1]

Name (Age): Gervase Peterson (43)
Tribe Designation: Returning Player
Relationship to Significant Castaway: Marissa's Uncle
Previous Season: Survivor: Borneo – 3rd jury member
Current Residence: Philadelphia, Pa.
Occupation: Cigar Lounge Owner

Why Did You Want to Return to Survivor and Play with Your Loved One? I wanted to return to Survivor because I felt that I could win the game if given another chance, and what better way to play than to play with my niece, Marissa. She is just as driven, focused and competitive as me. This is the ultimate experience and I get to share it with her.[2]



During the original Survivor season, Gervase worked only when necessary, and was able to successfully preserve much of his strength until the individual challenges in the later rounds. Although at times he appeared lazy, he claims that this was part of his strategy.

As a member of the Pagong tribe, Gervase was one of the first Survivor contestants who was forced by circumstance to eat cooked rat for sustenance, and was the very first contestant to remark that cooked rat actually tasted good, receiving mixed reactions from his tribe. On Day 16, he made a disparaging remark about women of his tribe, stating that "Girls are the stupidest things on the planet next to cows." However, his teammate Joel Klug laughed so hard that the comment was attributed to him, and the female members of Pagong voted Joel out when they lost the next Immunity Challenge.

After the two tribes merged into the Rattana tribe on Day 20, Gervase, like the remaining members of Pagong, did not realize that former Tagi members Kelly Wiglesworth, Richard Hatch, Rudy Boesch, and Susan Hawk had formed a voting alliance until the Pagong faction had been outnumbered and outmaneuvered. The Tagi Alliance, along with former Tagi member Sean Kenniff, voted out Gervase on Day 30.

At the Final Tribal Council, he cast his vote for Kelly after hearing Susan's "rats and snakes" speech, but she lost to Richard in a 4-3 vote.

Voting History

Gervase's Voting History
Episode Gervase's
Voted Against
1 Pagong Tribe Immune
2 B.B. -
3 Pagong Tribe Immune
4 Colleen -
5 Pagong Tribe Immune
6 Jenna -
7 Susan Jenna
8 Jenna Individual Immunity
9 Richard -
10 Sean Kelly, Richard,
Rudy, Sean, Susan
Voted Out, Day 30
Voted for
Sole Survivor

Blood vs. Water

Gervase returned after 13 years, playing the game with with his niece, Marissa Peterson. When the ten pairs of returning players and loved ones joined together at the marooning, Gervase joined the tribe of returning players, Galang, and was part of the majority to vote Candice Cody out on Day 1. At the first challenge of the season, Gervase's performance while swimming was so poor that he needed Aras Baskauskas's help to keep going, putting Galang at a severe disadvantage. The tribe was able to come from behind and win despite this setback; however, this victory was at a price, as Gervase's boisterous cheering was deemed as pouring salt into the losing Tadhana tribe's wounds, and Tadhana sent Marissa to Redemption Island on Day 3.

Upon learning of Marissa being voted out, Gervase felt that Marissa had to play the game on her own and declined to switch places with Marissa at the duel; she was able to escape elimination by finishing second. Redeeming himself from his poor performance in the previous challenge, Gervase did well in the final part of the next Immunity Challenge and was able to win the second challenge for Galang, continuing their winning streak. Like most of his tribe, however, Gervase was getting tired of Colton Cumbie constantly trying to talk strategy, and he joined a majority alliance that included Aras, Monica Culpepper, Tina Wesson, and Tyson Apostol. Gervase bonded with Tyson the most from this group since they often snuck off to eat coconuts in secret (forming their identities as "Coconut Bandits") and since they were the first members of the alliance whose loved ones were eliminated, with Gervase losing Marissa after she lost the duel on Day 9. Galang's winning streak finally came to an end on Day 13, with Gervase joining his alliance in blindsiding Laura Morett in hopes of defeating Brad Culpepper on Redemption Island to secure Monica's loyalty.

When host Jeff Probst announced a tribe switch the following day, Gervase and Tyson proceeded with a plan to get the numbers to blindside Aras at the earliest opportunity. With Tadhana stacked with physically-strong men, they won the next two Immunity Challenges, delaying their plans until the merge. After the merge, however, Gervase and Tyson were able to pull in Laura M. (who had returned from Redemption Island), Monica, Caleb Bankston, Ciera Eastin, and Hayden Moss to orchestrate Aras's blindside. This allowed their Singles Alliance to take control of the Kasama tribe, voting out Vytas Baskauskas, Tina, and Laura M. in the next few Tribal Councils.

Although Katie Collins, the only member of the tribe remaining who was not part of the alliance, seemed set to go next, Gervase and Tyson were alerted by Ciera that Caleb and Hayden had been plotting to blindside Tyson. Gervase and Tyson countered by pulling in Ciera and Monica to vote out Caleb instead. After Tribal Council, Hayden told the entire Kasama tribe that Tyson would beat any of them if he got to the end. Gervase was very vocal and adamant in his response, saying that he was in control of Tyson (although neither Hayden nor anyone else took him seriously). Gervase's response gave Hayden the feeling that Gervase was open to making a big move, and Hayden proposed they vote Tyson out next. Gervase felt that Tyson was his main ally but that it was good to keep his options open. Caleb called Gervase out at Redemption Island saying that Gervase and Tyson were untrustworthy, but Gervase rejected that by saying they were just able to make the move first. Crucially, Gervase won the next Immunity Challenge on Day 32. At Tribal Council that night, Gervase accidentally dropped major hints that Ciera was the fourth member of the majority alliance, and Gervase was very vocal at that Tribal Council. The initial vote ended in a 3-3 tie and the revote a 2-2 tie, resulting in a deadlock. Since Gervase had individual immunity, he was exempt from the rock drawing tiebreaker, which increased his alliance's odds of a favorable outcome. With Katie drawing the white rock, Gervase and his allies remained in the majority for the rest of the game and he would reach Day 39 with Monica and Tyson.

At the Final Tribal Council, Gervase's argument as to why he should win was because of how well he was able to adapt to what Survivor has become since his first season, and while the jury felt that he did play well, his gameplay did not stand out as much as Monica's or Tyson's, earning him no jury votes and third place.

Voting History

Gervase's Voting History
Episode Gervase's
Voted Against
1 Candice Aras
Galang Tribe Immune
2 Galang Tribe Immune
3 Galang Tribe Immune
4 Galang Tribe Immune
5 Laura M. -
6 Tadhana Tribe Immune
7 Tadhana Tribe Immune
8 Aras -
9 Vytas -
Tina -
10 Laura M. -
11 Caleb -
12 Hayden;
Individual Immunity
13 Hayden Ciera, Hayden
14 Ciera Ciera, Tina2
Tina Tina
Jury Votes
for Gervase
Second Runner-Up, Day 39

^1 In "Rustle Feathers", the vote ended with a 3-3 tie between Hayden and Monica, forcing a revote. Gervase did not change his vote on the revote.
^2 In "It's My Night", Gervase used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating 2 votes against him.


  • Gervase, along with Borneo castmates Jenna Lewis, Kelly Wiglesworth, and Rudy Boesch, appeared in a parody of Three's Company. Gervase played Jack.[3]
  • He named his youngest son, Gunnar Tiga Peterson after the first season's location: Pulau Tiga.
  • Like several members of the Borneo cast, Gervase has attempted to parlay his popularity into an acting career. Thus far, his most notable role has been that of absentee father Leo Thompson, whom he portrayed in 2001 on the CBS daytime drama As the World Turns.
  • Gervase, along with Alicia CalawayJeff Varner, and Susan Hawk appeared on Big Brother 2. They competed against the final four in a luxury competition and won $15,000 to share between them.[4]
  • On January 6, 2002, Gervase, along with Tina Wesson, appeared on a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link.[5] He was the third one voted out,[6] but did receive the house minimum of $10,000 for his charity.
  • Gervase is the owner of a cigar lounge in New Jersey.[7]
  • Gervase also currently has a column Say Gerv?" in the Jersery Man Magazine.
  • Gervase played Randy in the 2005 movie, The Scorned.[8]
  • In the summer of 2005, Gervase, along with Susan Hawk, Burton Roberts, Jerri Manthey, and Richard Hatch, competed on the Bravo reality show Battle of the Network Reality Stars. He was on the red tribe.[9]
  • On March 29, 2017, Gervase, along with Blood vs. Water castmate Katie Collins, appeared on an episode of Pen Fan Forum hosted by Andrea Boehlke to discuss the fifth episode of Game Changers.[10] He appeared in another episode on May 25, 2017 along with Josh Canfield to discuss the season finale of Game Changers.[11]
  • In 2019, Gervase and a few of his old Pagong tribemates met up in Clarksville.[12]


  • During the run of Borneo, a hacker announced that he had gained access to an area of the CBS Survivor website containing a photo array of the 16 contestants. An "X" was displayed across the picture of everyone except Gervase. This led many to believe that the network had inadvertently revealed Gervase to be the winner. A few episodes later, he was voted out, and CBS admitted that its so-called mistake was done on purpose to mislead viewers and pundits as a way of keeping the true winner's identity secret, since the Final Tribal Council results were revealed on-location.
  • Gervase's luxury item in Borneo was a deck of cards.
  • Gervase and Ramona Gray are the first African-American castaways, as well as the first from the state of New Jersey.
  • Gervase is the first African-American male to be voted out of Survivor.
  • Gervase is the first African-American jury member.
  • Gervase is the first African-American to make the merge.
  • Gervase is the first jury member to make a speech before the finalists.
  • In Blood vs. Water, Gervase broke Michael Skupin's record for the longest period between appearances on the show, spanning 13 years. This is also the longest period between a first appearance on Survivor and a most recent one. His record would be broken by fellow Borneo castaway Kelly Wiglesworth, who would participate in Cambodia.
  • Sometime between his two seasons, Gervase tattooed his original tribe, "Pagong" on his left arm.


Survivor: Borneo Castaways
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Survivor: Blood vs. Water Castaways
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