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Jonathan Lindsay Penner is a contestant from Survivor: Cook Islands, Survivor: Micronesia, and Survivor: Philippines.

Charismatic and witty with a blunt disposition, Jonathan became the primary source of conflict during his time on Cook Islands. Although working himself into the majority on the Aitutaki tribe following the tribe dissolve, he along with his closest ally Candice Woodcock took the mutiny offer and rejoined their allies on the Rarotonga tribe. After the merge, however, he flipped back to the Aitu Four due to Yul Kwon threatening to eliminate him with his Hidden Immunity Idol if he did not do so. However, his shifting loyalties earned him the lasting antagonism of the Raro Alliance without gaining him admittance to the inner circle of the Aitu Four, and he was eventually voted out at the final seven.

Returning as a "Favorite" in Micronesia, Jonathan appeared to be more easygoing and fun-loving, but was relegated to the minority early on after the Malakal Couples Alliance took control of the Malakal tribe. After joining Airai at the tribe switch, he was eliminated in 15th place due to an injured leg that necessitated his medical evacuation.

In Philippines, Jonathan's reputation as a dynamic player as well as the general resentment against the three returning players made him a target from the get-go. He staved off elimination in a succession of perilous situations thanks to his social game, as well a timely Immunity Challenge victory and Hidden Immunity Idol play. After several crucial votes, he and only remaining ally Carter Williams were offered a final four alliance with Lisa Whelchel and Michael Skupin. Jonathan, however, rejected the offer, reasoning that it was too early to make a final four alliance. This led Lisa and Michael to instead team up with Denise Stapley and Malcolm Freberg, and when outsider Abi-Maria Gomes won immunity at the final seven, Jonathan was left as the most threatening available target. He was voted out at the subsequent Tribal Council.


Retrieved from

A native of New York, Jonathan Penner is an actor, having had series regular roles on "Grapevine," "The Naked Truth" and "Rude Awakening." He also made guest-starring appearances in various series including CSI and "The Nanny," both on CBS, as well as "Seinfeld" and "Arrested Development." Additionally, he is a producer/writer/director.

Penner attended the prestigious Phillips Andover prep school in Andover, Massachusetts, and went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

Penner enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, soccer and baseball.

He is most proud of his family and his 1994 Oscar nomination for Best Short Film, Live Action for "Down on the Waterfront" (which he co-produced, co-wrote and starred in with Jason Alexander, Ed Asner and Mike Starr). In 2000, he also won the grand prize at Cognac and the screenwriting prize at the Avignon Film Festival for "Let the Devil Wear Black."

Penner currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife of 15 years, director Stacy Title (who directed him in the 1995 film "The Last Supper"), and their two children, Cooper and Ava. They have one bunny, Angel Cake, one cat, Vinnie, and two lizards, Mozilla and Luna. His birth date is March 5, 1962.[1]

A native of New York, Jonathan Penner is a writer/producer for film and television. He and his wife, Stacy, have developed numerous projects including "The Last Supper," "The Lone Ranger," "Let the Devil Wear Black" and the 1994 Oscar-nominated for Best Short Film, Live Action, "Down On The Waterfront" (which he co-produced, co-wrote and starred in with Jason Alexander, Ed Asner and Mike Starr). He also worked as an actor and had a series regular role on "Grapevine," on CBS, "The Naked Truth" and "Rude Awakening." He also made guest-starring appearances in various series including CSI: and "The Nanny," both on CBS, as well as "Seinfeld" and "Arrested Development." Additionally, he is a producer/writer/director.

Penner attended the prestigious Phillips Andover prep school in Andover, Massachusetts, and went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

Penner enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, theater, moves and track/field.

Penner currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife of 16 years, director Stacy Title, and their two children, Cooper and Ava. They have one bunny, Angel Cake, and two lizards, Mozilla and Luna. His birth date is March 5, 1962.[2]

Name (Age): Jonathan Penner (50)
Previous Seasons: Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Micronesia
Previous Finishes: Survivor: Cook Islands – 14th out, 6th jury member. Survivor: Micronesia – medical evacuation due to knee infection.
Tribe Designation: Kalabaw
Current Residence: Los Angeles, Calif.
Occupation: Writer
Personal Claim to Fame: My Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short Film for "Down on the Waterfront" which I co-wrote and co-produced with my wife, and also co-starred with Jason Alexander and Edward Asner.
Inspiration in Life: My kids. My daughter is hilarious and actually looks up to me, and my son is smarter and more athletic than I am already. Wanting to make them proud is why I always do my best.
Pet Peeves: Stupidity, meanness and slow drivers in the passing lanes.
3 Words to Describe You: Happy, prickly and funny.
If You Could Have 3 Things on The Island What Would They Be and Why? A good book to read, a blank book to write in and if I can count her as a thing, my wife. If not, I'll bring a pen.
Reason for Being on Survivor: The money. I have nothing more to prove or accomplish but winning.
Why You Think You'll "Survive" Survivor: Experience is the biggie, but I also bring humor and I'm a team player.

Why You Think You Will Be the Sole Survivor: Third time is a charm! If I can get past the first three or four votes I'm going all the way. Seriously![3]


Cook Islands[]

Jonathan was initially placed on the Rarotonga tribe consisting of Caucasian-American castaways. While on the boat during marooning, the Puka Puka tribe's chicken escaped and Jonathan retrieved it for his own tribe. At camp, however, Jessica Smith accidentally set the chicken loose, earning Jonathan's ire. Prior to the first Immunity Challenge, the chicken incident was discussed, with Puka Puka identifying Jonathan as the theft. Rarotonga then finished third to win immunity, while the losing Manihiki tribe sent Jonathan to Exile Island for stealing the chicken; Jonathan returned the next day.

When Manihiki and Puka Puka were dissolved on Day 7, the remaining players were switched to either Aitutaki or Rarotonga, with Jonathan being switched to Aitutaki, where he aligned with Becky Lee, Candice Woodcock, and Yul Kwon. However, when Aitutaki lost the subsequent Immunity Challenge, Candice was sent to Exile Island, leaving Jonathan's alliance in the minority, with Becky as the target. However, after strong lobbying from Jonathan and Yul, Jessica and Cao Boi Bui flipped to Jonathan's side, so Cecilia Mansilla was blindsided. Aitutaki then enjoyed a lengthy winning streak. However, on Day 15, host Jeff Probst announced that both tribes would go to a Double Tribal Council. Jonathan and Candice were then targeted by Cao Boi, who wanted the tribe to split the votes between the two of them to potentially flush out the Hidden Immunity Idol as the two had previously been to Exile Island. At Tribal Council, Jonathan and Candice's alliance instead opted to save them, blindsiding Cao Boi instead. When Aitutaki lost the following Immunity Challenge on Day 18, Jessica lobbied for Jonathan's elimination. The others considered voting out Jonathan for his perceived untrustworthiness, but at Tribal Council, Jessica was voted out in a unanimous vote.

The next morning, Jonathan and Candice plotted for an upcoming merge. At the Reward Challenge, a mutiny offer was presented, where anybody could change tribe affiliations. Candice was the first to accept the offer and a visibly shocked Jonathan followed her at the last second. Both of them rejoined the Rarotonga tribe and became part of the Raro Alliance. Rarotonga then lost the subsequent Immunity Challenge. While Jonathan was a target, Brad Virata openly stating he did not trust anyone resulted in his unanimous elimination. When Rarotonga lost immunity again, Jonathan found himself targeted. At Tribal Council, however, Rebecca Borman was unanimously voted out. Jeff then asked Parvati Shallow to open the bottle which was given to the tribe after they lost immunity. When she opened it and read the note, it was revealed that the tribe had to immediately vote out another member in a Double Elimination. Although Jenny Guzon-Bae and Nate Gonzalez voted against Jonathan, the original Rarotonga bloc of Jonathan, Candice, Parvati, and Adam Gentry stuck together, blindsiding Jenny.

The next day, the tribes merged into the Aitutonga tribe. Yul talked to Jonathan about rejoining his Aitu Four alliance, but Jonathan was not sure if he would flip back, stating that he would consider flipping back to Yul's side if Yul showed him the Hidden Immunity Idol. At camp, Yul showed Jonathan the idol to sway him back to his side: if Jonathan did not vote with Yul and his allies, they would vote for Jonathan, and Yul's idol would negate the Raro Alliance's votes and send Jonathan home. He later talked to his alliance about the idea of Yul possibly having the idol, but they did not believe it, which gave Jonathan a good reason to flip. Jonathan requested that Yul vote for Nate in exchange for him flipping to their side, which Yul readily agreed to. At Tribal Council, Jonathan blindsided the Raro Alliance and joined the Aitu Four in voting out Nate 5–4.

After coming back from Tribal Council, he explained to Candice his decision, while Parvati ridiculed him for flipping. At the Survivor Auction on Day 29, he bought a lot of food and acted in an obnoxious manner, which rubbed the rest of the tribe the wrong way. After the Immunity Challenge, the Raro Alliance pleaded to Yul to vote out Jonathan. While Adam, Candice, and Parvati were taking a "snuggling session" in the shelter, the Aitu Four downed a handful of fish that Jonathan caught. But Candice, seeing this, confronted Jonathan about his arrogance and told him that the whole tribe hated him. In a heated Tribal Council, Adam, Candice, and Parvati chastised Jonathan and pleaded for his elimination. Jonathan received votes from the Raro Alliance, but the Aitu Four sided with him, leaving Candice to be voted out.

The next day, Jonathan was able to meet with his wife Stacy at the Loved Ones Challenge. Parvati won the challenge and sent Jonathan to Exile Island. After Ozzy Lusth won immunity, Adam and Parvati pleaded the Aitu Four to get Jonathan out, though Yul assured Jonathan that he was on his side. At Tribal Council, however, the Aitu Four sided with Adam and Parvati in unanimously voting Jonathan out. Before leaving Tribal Council, Jonathan told the others that he would like his hat back at some point, which Yul returned at the next Tribal Council.

At the Final Tribal Council, Jonathan asked Yul how telling half lies kept in line with his integrity, and accused Ozzy of being arrogant and asked him how a million dollars would make his world a better place. He voted for Yul to win, which he did in a close 5-4-0 vote over Ozzy and Becky respectively.

Episode Tribe
Challenge Challenge Type Sit-Out? Result
1 Rarotonga Lock, Load and Light Reward/Immunity No 3rd
2 Tow the Line Reward/Immunity No 1st
Switched Tribes, Day 7
3 Aitutaki Steeple Chase Immunity No Lost
4 Sacrificial Lamb Reward No Won
Mayday Immunity No Won
5 Never Tear Us Apart Reward No Lost
United We Stand Immunity No Won
6 Kicking and Screaming Reward No Won
8 Smash and Grab Reward No Won
Stairway to Heaven Immunity Yes Lost
Mutinied, Day 20
9 Rarotonga Barrel of Monkeys Reward Yes Lost
Depth Charge Immunity No Lost
10 Make Your Point Reward Yes Lost
South Pacific Immunity No Lost
Tribes Merged, Day 25
11 Aitutonga Get a Grip Immunity Lost
12 Survivor Auction
Recollection Immunity Lost
13 Pass the Bucket Reward Lost
Floatsam and Jetsam Immunity Lost
Voted Out, Day 33

Episode Jonathan's
Voted Against
1 Rarotonga Tribe Immune
2 Rarotonga Tribe Immune
3 Cecilia -
4 Aitutaki Tribe Immune
5 Aitutaki Tribe Immune
6 Cao Boi Jessica
8 Jessica Jessica
9 Brad Brad
10 Rebecca Rebecca
Jenny Jenny, Nate
11 Nate -
12 Candice Adam, Candice,
13 Adam Adam, Becky, Ozzy,
Parvati, Sundra, Yul
Voted Out, Day 33
Voted for
Sole Survivor


Jonathan returned as one of ten returning contestants on the Malakal tribe who competed against ten Survivor "superfans." He initially formed an alliance with Ami Cusack, Eliza Orlins, and Yau-Man Chan to usurp the budding Malakal Couples Alliance consisting of Amanda Kimmel, James Clement, Ozzy Lusth, and Parvati Shallow. While both alliances were vying for Cirie Fields's and Jon Dalton's votes after Malakal lost the first Immunity Challenge, all plans were put on hold when Jon suddenly decided that he wanted to go home to be with his expectant girlfriend and was voted out at the first Tribal Council.

When Malakal lost immunity again on Day 8, both alliances again battled for Cirie's crucial swing vote. Although Cirie was initially on board with Jonathan's alliance, she was eventually swayed to join the Malakal Couples Alliance on the condition that Yau-Man would be the first eliminated, despite the alliance's desire to eliminate Eliza because she made an argument that if Yau-Man went to Exile Island once, he would definitely find the Hidden Immunity Idol. The couples agreed, and although Jonathan tried to save Yau-Man, he was voted out in a 6-2-1 vote.

On Day 13, unexpected tribe switch moved Jonathan to the Airai tribe with Eliza, James, and Parvati. Although Airai won the subsequent Reward Challenge, Jonathan suffered a knee injury, greatly hindering his mobility. Airai then went on a winning streak before Jonathan's knee injury started slowly getting worse and worse. Eventually, Jonathan was forced to be medically evacuated on Day 15 after the medical team determined that the infection in his knee was potentially fatal, and he shared an emotional goodbye with his tribe before leaving.

Episode Tribe
Challenge Challenge Type Sit-Out? Result
1 Malakal First to Shore Immunity1 No Lost
Reinventing the Wheel Reward/Immunity No Lost
2 Smash and Grab Reward/Immunity No Won
3 Beach Bash Reward No Won
Nut Bucket Immunity No Lost
4 Diver Down Reward No Won
Crosswalk Immunity No Won
Switched Tribes, Day 13
5 Airai Cat and Mouse Reward No Won
A Stone's Throw Immunity No Won
6 Build It Up, Break It Down Reward No Won
Evacuated, Day 15
^1 This challenge was played for individual immunity at each tribe's first Tribal Council.

Episode Jonathan's
Voted Against
1 Jon -
2 Malakal Tribe Immune
3 Parvati -
4 Malakal Tribe Immune
5 Airai Tribe Immune
6 No Tribal Council
Evacuated, Day 15


Jonathan returned with fellow former evacuated contestants Michael Skupin and Russell Swan and was placed on the Kalabaw tribe. Jonathan was immediately targeted by the other castaways on his tribe, as they, mainly Jeff Kent, did not want a returning player to win the game. On Day 4, Jonathan managed to find Kalabaw's Hidden Immunity Idol from the top of the rice box. Things began to look up for Jonathan, as he formed a three-person alliance with Jeff and Carter Williams, creating a men versus women scenario within the tribe. However, votes never had to happen as Kalabaw continued their winning streak.

On Day 11, the Matsing tribe was dissolved and Kalabaw gained Denise Stapley. However, the following day, Kalabaw lost their first original member after Dana Lambert became ill and decided to quit the game. Kalabaw lost the next two Immunity Challenges, and Denise joined the men's alliance, helping to vote out Sarah Dawson and Katie Hanson respectively.

When Kalabaw merged with Tandang into the Dangrayne tribe on Day 17, Carter and Jeff plotted with the Tandang Alliance to target Jonathan. Jonathan attempted to talk Tandang outsiders Michael and RC Saint-Amour into flipping, however, Michael decided to vote against Jonathan when Jeff approached him. At Tribal Council, Jonathan played his Hidden Immunity Idol out of nervousness that his allies had turned on him. RC received the next highest number of votes due to a split vote plan organized by Malcolm Freberg and became the first member of the jury. After Tribal Council, Jonathan was furious that his allies had betrayed him and considered himself alone on the island. Jonathan then managed to pull out a come-from-behind victory at the next Immunity Challenge, throwing plans to vote him out into a tailspin. At a chaotic Tribal Council, the votes were split between Jeff and Pete Yurkowski, with Jeff leaving 5-4-1. Jonathan threw a vote to Abi-Maria Gomes in an effort to spook her as he admitted to not knowing what was going on; had Jonathan voted with Carter, Denise, Jeff, and Malcolm, the vote would have been tied.

Back at camp, the remnants of the original Kalabaw and Matsing tribes realized that they needed to get rid of the Tandang Alliance of Abi-Maria, Pete, and Artis Silvester. Although the Tandang Alliance again targeted Jonathan at the next Tribal Council, the Kalabaw-Matsing coalition managed to get Michael to flip over and boot Artis in a 5-4 vote. The next day, Jonathan tried to get Lisa Whelchel to join their coalition, appealing to her past as a teen star and how she would appear to the television audience. At the next vote, Lisa and Michael joined the Kalabaw-Matsing coalition, helping split votes between Abi-Maria and Pete. Abi-Maria then played her Hidden Immunity Idol, sending Pete home in a 3-2-0 vote.

Lisa and Michael then approached Jonathan with a final four deal with him and Carter, feeling skeptical about working with Denise and Malcolm. However, Jonathan turned down their offer as he thought that it was too early to make sub-alliances. At the next Immunity Challenge, Abi-Maria shocked everyone when she won after receiving a Challenge Advantage at the Survivor Auction. At Tribal Council, Jonathan campaigned for Denise and Malcolm to leave, saying that if either of them got to the end, they would win. However, Jonathan faced the consequences of rejecting the final four deal as Lisa and Michael joined Denise and Malcolm in voting out Jonathan in a 4-3 vote. Before leaving Tribal Council, Jonathan hugged Carter and when Abi-Maria asked for a hug, Jonathan coldly told her that he was not hugging anyone else. Jonathan departed from Tribal Council whistling, and he took a bow before finally disappearing into the trees, eliciting a bemused shrug from host Jeff Probst.

At the Final Tribal Council, Jonathan addressed Denise, Lisa, and Michael, berating them all and even exposing Lisa's past as a teen star to the jury and other finalists, although he kept her secret while playing. In the end, Jonathan voted for Denise to win, helping give her the victory in a 6-1-1 vote.

Episode Tribe
Challenge Challenge Type Sit-Out? Result
1 Kalabaw Share the Wealth Reward/Immunity No 1st
2 Manila Folders Reward/Immunity No 2nd
3 Deep In Thought Reward/Immunity No 1st
4 Swing Break Reward/Immunity No 2nd
5 Idol Hands Reward No Lost
Thrash, Splash & Bash Immunity No Lost
6 Bog Roll Reward No Won1
Philiping Out Immunity No Lost
Tribes Merged, Day 17
7 Dangrayne Wrist Assured Immunity Lost
8 Catch of the Day Reward Won
Snake in the Grass Immunity Won
9 Muddy Waters Reward Won
Paddle Out Immunity Lost
10 Snare the Drum Reward Lost
Push Your Luck Immunity Lost
11 Survivor Auction
Brains and Brawn Immunity Lost
Voted Out, Day 30
^1 Tandang forfeited the challenge in exchange for Kalabaw's rice.

Episode Jonathan's
Voted Against
1 Kalabaw Tribe Immune
2 Kalabaw Tribe Immune
3 Kalabaw Tribe Immune
4 Kalabaw Tribe Immune
5 Dawson -
6 Katie Katie
7 Pete Abi-Maria, Denise,
Lisa, Malcolm, Michael
8 Abi-Maria Individual Immunity
9 Artis Abi-Maria, Artis,
Lisa, Pete
10 Pete -
11 Denise Denise, Lisa,
Malcolm, Michael
Voted Out, Day 30
Voted for
Sole Survivor

^1 In "Not the Only Actor on This Island", Jonathan used a Hidden Immunity Idol, negating 5 votes against him.


  • Jonathan has written about his lifelong love of horror films and what it means in the Los Angeles Review of Books.[4]
  • On January 9, 2010, Jonathan attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party.
  • Jonathan's wife Stacy passed away on January 11, 2021 after a long battle with ALS.[5] Stacy's struggle with the disease was previously discussed by Jonathan's Cook Islands castmate Yul Kwon in the Winners at War episode "The Buddy System on Steroids" to help raise awareness for Stacy's condition and ALS in general.[6][7]


  • Jonathan is the oldest member of the original Rarotonga tribe and the Kalabaw tribe.
  • In Cook Islands, Jonathan received at least one vote at five consecutive Tribal Councils.
    • At each of these Tribal Councils, the first vote read was for him.
  • Jonathan is the second player to accept the mutiny offer. He mutinied right after Candice Woodcock did so on Cook Islands.
  • Jonathan is one of three returning players to win their first individual immunity on their third season of Survivor. The other two are Jerri Manthey (Heroes vs. Villains) and Tony Vlachos (Winners at War).
  • Jonathan accumulated the most votes against him in Cook Islands with 15, and again in Philippines with 14 total votes.
  • Jonathan set the record for receiving votes at the most Tribal Councils in a season, with 7 in Cook Islands. This was later tied by Phillip Sheppard in Redemption Island, John Cochran in South Pacific, Keith Nale in San Juan del Sur, and Kelley Wentworth in Edge of Extinction.
  • In Phillipines, Jonathan became the first contestant to be the primary target of a split vote, but save himself with a Hidden Immunity Idol, eliminating the secondary target instead.
    • Coincidentally, Jonathan was the primary target of the first ever split vote in Plan Voodoo.
    • Jonathan is the first person to successfully play a Hidden Immunity Idol, but not eliminate the person he voted for.
  • Jonathan lost 30 lbs. during his time in Cook Islands[8]
  • Both times Jonathan served on the jury, he gave the closing jury speech.
  • Jonathan lost 20 lbs. during his time on Micronesia.[8]
  • Jonathan is the first returning player to compete on multiple seasons with more than two pre-merge tribes. Jonathan is also the only player to do without competing on a season consisting of all-returning players.
    • Jonathan is the only player to play on a season with two starting tribes, three starting tribes, and four starting tribes.
  • Jonathan lost 24 lbs. during his time in Philippines.[8]
  • Jonathan was considered for Game Changers, but he did not make the final cut.[9]


Survivor: Cook Islands Castaways
S13 adam t
Puka Puka
S13 becky t
S13 billy t
Puka Puka
S13 brad t
S13 candice t
 Cao Boi
Puka Puka
S13 caoboi t
S13 cecilia t
S13 cristina t
S13 jp t
Puka Puka
S13 jenny t
S13 jessica t
S13 jonathan t
S13 nate t
S13 ozzy t
S13 parvati t
S13 rebecca t
S13 sekou t
S13 stephannie t
S13 sundra t
Puka Puka
S13 yul t
Survivor: Micronesia Castaways
S16 alexis t
S16 amanda t
S16 ami t
S16 chet t
S16 cirie t
S16 eliza t
S16 erik t
S16 james t
S16 jason t
S16 joel t
S16 jon t
S16 jonathan t
S16 kathy t
S16 mary t
 Mikey B.
S16 mikeyb t
S16 natalie t
S16 ozzy t
S16 parvati t
S16 tracy t
S16 yauman t
Survivor: Philippines Castaways
S25 abimaria t
S25 angie t
S25 artis t
S25 carter t
S25 dana t
S25 dawson t
S25 denise t
S25 jeff t
S25 jonathan t
S25 katie t
S25 lisa t
S25 malcolm t
S25 michael t
S25 pete t
S25 rc t
S25 roxy t
S25 russell t
S25 zane t