PORTLAND, Maine — A bow-tied high-school teacher received a $1 million check Monday for winning “Survivor” and said he planned to take his wife on a trip to Gabon, the African country where he beat out 17 other contestants in the popular TV show.
Robert Crowley of South Portland outlasted his rivals to emerge as the winner of Sunday’s season finale. After the winner was announced live from Hollywood, Crowley flew from California to New York overnight to accept his check live on “The Early Show” on CBS.
“I’m living a dream and I don’t want to wake up,” he said Monday.
Bearded, wiry and professorial-looking, Crowley teaches high school physics in nearby Gorham. At 57, he was the oldest winner in “Survivor” history.
On a post-game special aired from Hollywood, Crowley said his plan was to “fly under the radar” as long as he could and be a nice guy so people would like him.
On Monday, he said he hoped to use some of the winnings so he and his wife could have the honeymoon they never had when they got married 28 years ago.
“I’m thinking it might be a good idea to go back to Gabon and have a proper vacation, a proper honeymoon,” he said.
Runners-up were Susie Smith, a gabby 47-year-old hairdresser-homemaker from Charles City, Iowa, and 29-year-old Jessica “Sugar” Kiper, the blond pinup model from Brooklyn.
The winner was chosen by a seven-member jury of previously expelled contestants, to whom the three finalists appealed during their all-important last tribal council. In that voting, Bob edged out Susie, 4 votes to 3, with Sugar snagging no one’s support.
This, the 17th edition of the CBS strategy-endurance game, was set in the West African nation of Gabon, where 18 castaways had come together when the season began.