Jonathan Lindsay Penner (often referred to as Penner in Philippines) 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, being described as a cancer within his tribe. He along with his closest ally Candice Woodcock took the mutiny offer and rejoined their allies on the Rarotonga tribe, but after the merge, he flipped back to the Aitu Four due to leader 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, so he was eventually voted out at the final seven.

In Micronesia, he appeared to be more competitive and fun-loving, however, he was eliminated in 15th place due to an injured leg. It was in this season that he developed the habit of responding sarcastically to host Jeff Probst's commentaries during crucial challenge moments.

Returning for Philippines, his reputation as a dynamic player 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 as his well-timed Immunity Challenge victory and Hidden Immunity Idol play. He finally met his end when Abi-Maria Gomes won immunity at the final seven, leaving him as the most threatening available target. He was voted out at the subsequent Tribal Council.


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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 started on the Rarotonga tribe. While on the boat during marooning, the Puka Puka's tribe's chicken escaped and Jonathan got it. However, the chicken escaped from Jonathan, and Jessica Smith got it, which angered him. After the season's first Immunity Challenge, the 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. On Aitutaki, Jonathan 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 a 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. Aitutaki won the challenge. At Tribal Council, Jonathan joined the majority in blindsiding Cao Boi. When Aitutaki lost the following immunity 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 6-1 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. Both of them rejoined the Rarotonga tribe and became part of the Raro Alliance. Rarotonga then lost the next Reward and Immunity Challenge. While Jonathan was a target, Brad Virata openly stating he did not trust anyone resulted in his unanimous elimination. When Rarotonga lost both reward and 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 vote out another member. Jonathan received votes from Jenny Guzon-Bae and Nate Gonzalez, but Jenny was blindsided.

The next day, the tribes merged into the Aitutonga tribe. Later that day, Yul talked to Jonathan about rejoining his Aitu Four alliance, but Jonathan was not sure if he would flip back. He stated in a confessional that he would consider flipping back to Yul's side if he 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 his 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, he bought a lot of food and showed his arrogance, which rubbed everyone the wrong way. After the Immunity Challenge, the Raro Alliance pleaded to Yul to vote out Jonathan. While Raro Alliance members Candice, Parvati, and Adam Gentry were taking a "snuggling session" in the shelter, the Aitu Four downed a handful of fish that Jonathan caught. But Candice, seeing all the action, 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 met his wife 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. Yul told 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 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.

Voting History

Jonathan's Voting History
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."

Jonathan initially formed an alliance with Ami Cusack, Eliza Orlins, and Yau-Man Chan to usurp the budding Malakal Couples Alliance which consisted of Amanda Kimmel, James Clement, Ozzy Lusth, and Parvati Shallow. While both voting blocs were vying for Cirie Fields' and Jon Dalton's votes, 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.

After Malakal won the next Immunity Challenge, an unexpected Tribe Switch on Day 13 moved Jonathan to Airai. Jonathan suffered a knee injury in the subsequent Reward Challenge. Jonathan, along with Eliza, James, and Jason Siska, led Airai to several victories before his knee injury started slowly getting worse and worse; eventually, Jonathan was forced to be medically evacuated, and he shared an emotional goodbye with his tribe before leaving.

Voting History

Jonathan's Voting History
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. However, Jonathan managed to stay safe when Kalabaw won the first Immunity Challenge. 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, quickly turning Kalabaw into a men versus women scenario. However, votes never had to happen as Kalabaw continued their winning streak.

On Day 11, Matsing was dissolved and Kalabaw gained Denise Stapley. However, the following day, Kalabaw lost their first original member after Dana Lambert became ill and quit. 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 the two tribes merged into the Dangrayne tribe on Day 17, Carter and Jeff plotted with the Tandang Alliance to target Jonathan. Jonathan attempted to talk former Tandang members 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 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; had Jonathan voted with Carter, Denise, Jeff, and Malcolm, the vote would have been tied.

After Jeff's boot, the non-Tandang members realized that they needed to get rid of the Tandang Alliance of Abi-Maria, Pete, and Artis Silvester. At the next Tribal Council, they managed to get Michael to flip over and boot Artis in a 5-4 vote. At the next vote, Michael and Lisa Whelchel joined the non-Tandangs and helped split votes between Abi-Maria and Pete. Abi-Maria played her Hidden Immunity Idol, sending Pete home in a 3-2-0 vote.

Lisa and Michael approached Jonathan with a final four deal with him and Carter, feeling skeptical about working with Denise and Malcolm. Jonathan turned down their offer as he thought that it was too early to make sub-alliances. At the Immunity Challenge, Abi-Maria shocked everyone when she won after receiving an 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.

Voting History

Jonathan's Voting History
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 is the oldest member of the original Rarotonga and Kalabaw tribes.
  • 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 was 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.
  • Each time Jonathan played the game, there were exactly two Tribal Councils where Jonathan was eligible to receive votes but did not do so.
  • Both times Jonathan served on the jury, he gave the closing jury speech.
  • 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.[5]
  • Jonathan was considered for Game Changers, though he did not make the final cut.[6]


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