'Survivor' Star Sunday Burquest Dead at 50 ... After Cancer Battle

Sunday Burquest -- a former contestant on "Survivor" -- has died after battling cancer.

The youth pastor's daughter, Kennedy, confirmed her mother's passing on Instagram ... posting a touching tribute that thanked Sunday for teaching her to be a Christian, and for being the best role model possible.

She writes ... "It breaks my heart to know you will never get to see me on my wedding day, or be there when I have my first kid. But I know you’re watching over me." Kennedy went on to say that she's happy her mom will be with Jesus, and that she doesn't have to be in pain anymore, adding ... "I know one day we will meet again. Until then, I’ll spend every minute missing you, and trying to make you proud. Rest easy mom, I’ll see you soon 🤍."

Sunday had previously disclosed that she'd been diagnosed with esophageal and ovarian cancer -- with a new iteration of the disease re-infecting her last summer ... when, at the time, doctors had told her she only had months to live.

Prior to the latest diagnosis, she'd fought breast cancer in 2012 ... and came out the other side after several surgeries and treatments.

Sunday competed on the 33rd season of "Survivor" ... dubbed 'Millennials vs. Gen X,' which aired in 2016. She made it pretty far, as she was the 14th person voted out, coming in at 7th place. She ended up going from being on a tribe with people mostly her age to the other tribe, full of 20 and 30-somethings, with whom she didn't appear to gel that well.

Before coming on to compete, she'd been cleared medically after beating her breast cancer -- and was one of the feel-good stories of the season. She's survived by her husband and four children.

Sunday was 50.

RIP

'Survivor' Contestant Angie Jakusz Dead at 40

Angie Jakusz, a former 'Survivor' contestant, has died after battling cancer.

Angie died Friday in the New Orleans area, and while we don't know her exact cause of death yet ... a recent GoFundMe page in her name says she'd been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Her fellow contestants playfully gave her the nickname, "No Fun Angie," when she appeared on the competition show's tenth season, "Survivor: Palau." She competed for the Ulong tribe.

Angie made a little history on the show ... she was voted out on Day 12 after becoming the first contestant to lose a revote in tribal council. Fans also got to see her on the 'Survivor' 10-year anniversary party in 2010.

She was born and raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin ... but eventually settled in New Orleans where she was an artist, and a bartender in the French Quarter.

Angie is survived by her husband, Steven Calandra, her parents, brother, niece and nephew. She was 40.

RIP

Jonny Fairplay 'Survivor' Villain Arrested for Larceny ... Allegedly Stole from 'Dead' Grandma!!!

10:19 AM PT -- This is pretty wild ... according to the arrest warrant -- obtained by TMZ -- Fairplay's accused of stealing furniture and a necklace from his grandmother, Jean Cook ... the same grandma he pretended had died in his all-time notorious 'Survivor' moment.

A criminal complaint was filed by Jonny's aunt -- his grandma's daughter -- who claims Patsy is mentally abusing Cook and taking advantage of her severe dementia. Jonny's accused of removing bar stools, a leather chair, an end table and a silver necklace valued at $5k from his grandma's home without proper consent.

One of the most notorious 'Survivor' contestants of all time is in hot water after a recent arrest ... and it looks like it's a family affair.

Jonny Fairplay was busted for larceny last week in his hometown of Danville, Virginia ... along with his mother, Patsy Hall. Based on their smirking mug shots -- they're not too bent out of shape about it, though.

It's unclear why Jonny and his mom were booked for larceny ... we're working on it. He does tell us though, "I (we) have been unjustly charged by a family member. I welcome the opportunity to vindicate myself (and my mother)."

Fairplay -- real name Jon Dalton -- earned a shady reputation way back in 2003 when he appeared on "Survivor: Pearl Islands" and had his visiting friend lie and tell him his grandma had died ... in order to garner sympathy from the other tribe members and win a reward.

He later revealed to the audience that his grandma was alive and well and at home "watching Jerry Springer." He ended up finishing the season in 3rd place.

Jonny's villain distinction would follow him for years in the reality TV world -- including a brief follow-up appearance on 'Survivor' -- along with a stint in professional wrestling.

Originally Published -- 9:09 AM PT

'Survivor' & 'Big Brother' Reality Show Casts Changing ... 50% People of Color!!!

CBS has heard the calls for more diversity on its hit reality shows ... and it's making a pledge to make it happen.

The network says its unscripted shows -- including the uber-popular "Survivor," "Big Brother" and "Love Island" -- will have casts at least 50 percent Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) beginning with the 2021-22 season.

In addition, CBS vows to commit at least 25 percent of its annual unscripted development budget to projects created or co-created by minorities ... and set a target of 40 percent BIPOC representation in the writers' rooms next year too.

CBS Entertainment Group President & CEO George Cheeks says ... "The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling."

Cheeks says the network's diversity pledge is just the first step in discovering new voices for content, and it goes hand-in-hand with a production partnership with the NAACP as well.

As you may know ... CBS has come under fire for racial controversies on its reality programs in recent years, especially with "Big Brother." Houseguests were slammed for making a racially-charged joke about a fellow Asian houseguest in July 2019, and there was an n-word controversy the year before.

Likewise, "Survivor" has taken heat for many years for a lack of diversity among its casts ... and alleged favoritism of white players over minority players.

CBS says its sights are set on changing all of that.

'Survivor' Outcast Dan Spilo Audition Tape Loaded with Celebs ... And Cringe-worthy Jokes

Dan Spilo -- the first-ever "Survivor" contestant to get kicked off for unwanted touching -- got major support from some big names in his quest to become a contestant ... and wasn't shy about flaunting it.

TMZ has seen Spilo's audition tape footage for the long-running reality competition show -- which helped the Hollywood agent get on the current 'Island of the Idols' season -- and it's an interesting watch, to say the least ... albeit a little uncomfortable.

Dan's tape starts with him in full camo gear trekking through a jungle while the "Mission: Impossible" theme plays ... and he describes why he has what it takes to win.

It then cuts to Dan in a business suit in his L.A. office, revealing he's a "top talent manager." He explains why his 20 years in the industry translates to being on "Survivor" ... and he includes photos of himself rubbing elbows with stars like Jack Black, Javier Bardem, Bon Jovi and Olivia Wilde.

HE'S OUT
CBS

It seems like a standard "Survivor" audition tape -- maybe slightly more produced -- but now that Spilo's been removed from this season after multiple reports of unwanted touching ... there are certainly some eyebrow-raising moments.

The tape features various interviews from his clients, one of which is an actress who calls him "polarizing" and a "walking contradiction," but then insists he'll make for good TV.

'Survivor' Reunion Kellee Kim's Pissed ... You All Ignored Me, Time for Change!!!

GAME CHANGER
CBS

'Survivor' will never be the same now that season 39 is over -- at least that's what Kellee Kim hopes her legacy will be in the wake of the Dan Spilo controversy.

It already made one huge change -- for the first time, the show's finale reunion Thursday night was NOT live, and the pre-taped program featured Jeff Probst going one-on-one with Kellee ... who aired her grievances with Jeff, producers and CBS.

She told the host the most difficult part of the season for her was the fact Spilo remained on the show for several weeks AFTER she spoke out about his unwanted touching. She said she felt producers either didn't believe her, or worst ... just ignored her.

HE'S OUT
CBS

As you know, Spilo was eventually removed after a crew member also complained about him. Spilo wasn't included in the finale taping.

Kellee said she didn't want season 39 to be defined by Spilo's actions, but instead she hoped her legacy would be that her speaking led to producers making lasting changes. The show's already announced there will be new guidelines for personal space, and it will have more professionals on-site to allow for confidential reporting of any problems.

Completely overshadowed was the fact 'Survivor' did crown a new champion Wednesday night. Spoiler alert ...

The jury selected Tommy Sheehan over Noura Salman and Dean Kowalski.

'Survivor' Contestant Noura Dan Spilo Has a Good Heart ... People are Just Different About Touching!!!

It's All Good
BACKGRID

'Survivor' exile Dan Spilo is an amazing man with a good heart ... according to Noura Salman, one of the final 5 remaining tribe members on this controversial season.

Noura was outside the 'Island of the Idols' Season 39 finale party in WeHo Tuesday night when she got asked about Dan's ejection for inappropriate touching. She clearly doesn't feel any ill will toward Spilo -- she loves the guy ... and offers a bit of a defense for him too.

Noura says the issue comes down to people being different about touching -- some openly welcome it and feel comfortable, like her and Dan, while others are the opposite ... like fellow cast member Kellee Kim, and even Noura's own siblings.

She says she doesn't believe Dan meant to be disrespectful to Kellee with his unwanted touching, but suggests he probably didn't do a good job of communicating ... and gives an example from her yoga class of how to do it right.

Another contestant in the final 5, Janet Carbin, also got asked about Dan ... she simply said everything's "cool."

HE'S OUT
CBS

'Survivor' Contestant Dan Spilo Booted After 'Off-Camera' Incident ... Weeks After Unwanted Touching Accusations

For the first time in the history of 'Survivor' -- the long-running reality competition show -- a contestant's been kicked off for misconduct ... after already receiving a warning for his behavior.

Dan Spilo, a Hollywood producer and talent manager, was removed from the game with only days left for an undisclosed incident described as happening "off-camera."

At the end of Wednesday's episode -- after tribal council on 'Island of the Idols' -- host Jeff Probst came to the tribe's camp and informed everyone Dan was gone and wasn't coming back ... and wouldn't be serving on the jury.

HE'S OUT
CBS

As the show ended, a message read ... "Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player."

It's not too hard to read between the lines, though, because Spilo was involved in the most controversial episode of this season when he was accused by contestant Kellee Kim of inappropriate and unwanted touching.

Two other female contestants made similar claims, but later admitted they did it for gameplay and weren't actually offended by Dan.

However, he was seen touching Kellee on multiple occasions despite her apparent resistance, and was issued a warning by 'Survivor.' After Kim was voted out, Spilo apologized, saying ... "if anyone ever felt for a second uncomfortable about anything I’ve ever done, I’m horrified about that and I’m terribly sorry."

The final straw reportedly dropped after an immunity challenge, and involved someone on the crew as they were getting into a boat to leave. It's unclear exactly what happened during the incident, but it was enough to get him booted.

We reached out to Spilo ... a rep for him had no comment.

'Survivor' Contestant Silas Gaither Arrested for Rape

"Survivor" contestant Silas Gaither has been arrested for rape and aggravated assault.

The 41-year-old, who appeared on the 3rd season of "Survivor," was taken into custody Monday in Shelby County, Tennessee in connection with the alleged 2018 incident.

A grand jury indicted Silas, who posted his $50,000 bail and was released.

Details of the allegations have not been released.

Gaither was on "Survivor" back in 2001-02. He was voted off at the end of the 6th episode.

Season 3 was the first time "Survivor" implemented a tribe swap -- meaning players from different teams could be randomly swapped to join new teammates. That meant you always had to be nice to other players since you didn't know who'd you end up with. Silas was the first one to be voted off from that first tribe swap.

Gaither has been a model/actor. His most recent acting credit is a 2010 short, "The Guest."

Ex-'Survivor' Producer Early Release from Mexican Prison ... Unrecognizable in L.A.

1:13 PM PT -- Bruce Beresford-Redman was just spotted in L.A. Wednesday after being released early from a Mexican prison, and boy ... does he look different. He's got a super short buzzed haircut, and a new beard too. He was wearing sunglasses as well.

Safe to say ... the guy's unrecognizable from the clean-cut, corporate look he used to rock prior to his imprisonment. Jail ... it changes ya.

Bruce Beresford-Redman -- the ex-producer on 'Survivor' -- who was convicted for murdering his wife in Mexico, has been released early ... just 4 years into a 12-year sentence.

Beresford-Redman was released two months ago from the Quintana Roo jail in Mexico, and is reportedly already back home in his Southern California home. He was found guilty of murdering his wife, Monica Burgos Beresford-Redman, while they were on a 2010 vacation with their kids in Cancun.

Monica's body was discovered in a sewer, and authorities found she'd died by suffocation and had suffered bruising on her face and head. Beresford-Redman had gone home to California, but was eventually extradited to Mexico in 2012, and convicted for Monica's murder in 2015.

Now, just 4 years into his sentence, he's a free man again. His attorney told KNBC-TV, Mexican prisoners are eligible for release after they complete 60 percent of their sentence.

It appears Beresford-Redman was given credit for time served before his conviction -- which amounts to 7 and a half years -- because 4 years definitely ain't 60 percent of his 12-year sentence.

Bruce also produced shows like "Pimp My Ride," "The Contender," "The Restaurant" and "Breakthrough with Tony Robbins."

Originally Published -- 7:17 AM PT

Ashley Massaro Ex-WWE Superstar Dead at 39

Former WWE superstar Ashley Massaro -- who later competed on 'Survivor' -- has died, TMZ Sports has learned. She was only 39.

Officials tell us ... Massaro was transported from her home in Suffolk County, NY to a nearby hospital where she died early Thursday morning.

Officials would not reveal the cause of death at this point, but we're told it's being classified as "non-criminal."

Massaro famously won the WWE's "2005 Raw Diva Search" -- which included a $250,000 1-year contract.

She went on to become a valet for WWE tag team champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick.

Her most high-profile matches including a WWE Women's Championship against Melina at Wrestlemania 23 in 2007 ... and a Playboy BunnyMania LumberJill match at Wrestlemania 24 the following year.

Massaro appeared on "Survivor: China" in 2007 -- but she was voted off on the second episode of that series.

She also appeared on the April 2007 cover of Playboy Magazine, which she revealed on an episode of "Smackdown."

She later cut ties with WWE in 2008. She later returned for a stint with a lesser known pro wrestling company in 2017.

"We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of former WWE Superstar Ashley Massaro," WWE said in a statement.

"She performed in WWE from 2005-2008 and was beloved by her fellow Superstars and fans around the world. WWE offers its condolences to Ashley’s family and friends."

WWE stars from all generations have reached out to share their heartbroken feelings on Massaro's death, with Torrie Wilson saying, "I can’t even begin to explain how devastated I am to hear about @ashleymassaro11 - legit one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known."

Melina Perez added, "I am gutted by the news of Ashley’s passing and my brain doesn’t want to believe it. How can this be real? It’s difficult and awful news to take in."

Trish Stratus, who says she was Ashley's first-ever suplex in the ring, said, "I’m having a hard time processing this news of my friend, a fellow worker, a fellow mom. I’m both sad and mad ... Rest In Peace baby girl,take in."

The Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie, wrote on their Twitter page, "We are so saddened to hear the news of Ashley Massaro. She had such a tender heart and sweet soul. We will always remember her of that. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. RIP Ashley"

Even legendary wrestler Mick Foley offered his condolences, saying, "She lived in the same town as me...I loved seeing her around. She was always so nice...and now she’s gone."

A ton of other stars -- including Rikishi, The Iron Sheik, Bayley and TAZ -- also shared their thoughts and prayers for Ashley and her family on social media.

Originally Published -- 5/16 8:01 PM PT

'Survivor: David vs. Goliath' Finale to Feature Live Proposal ... Spoilers Ahead, Obvi

12/26 -- Sources say the proposer decided not to do a public engagement.

Someone's gonna pop the question during the live segment of the 'Survivor' finale later this week -- oh, and by the way ... this story contains spoilers. Sooooo, yeah.

Production sources tell TMZ ... 'Survivor' production staffers working on this year's 'David vs. Goliath' season received an email over the weekend alerting them to some extremely last minute changes for Wednesday's finale episode. The message ... we're gonna have a live proposal on our hands, folks.

We're told the staff was instructed to make some last-minute accommodations for the 3-hour finale -- part of which is live and the other being pre-taped from Fiji -- in anticipation of someone getting on bended knee in front of the live studio audience.

Unclear who's proposing, but we're told 'Survivor' staff members have some guesses. Top of the list ... a guy named Nick Wilson, who's currently in the final 6, has himself a longtime GF, so people think he might make the big ask.

Of course, there's also the potential of two cast members-turned lovers -- Alec Merlino and Kara Kay -- who hooked up after the show ... and broke their NDAs in the process.

'Survivor' brass banned Alec from attending the finale ... but we're told there's speculation this might be a loophole to be welcomed back in a big way.

Stay tuned ...

CBS Fires Off Warning to 'Survivor' Star!! But, a Really Nice Warning

CBS didn't unleash the big legal guns after 'Survivor' star Jonny Fairplay allegedly jacked its show's logo ... but the network does wanna have a chat with the former show villain.

TMZ's obtained a legal letter CBS fired off to Jonny warning him about using the "Survivor" logo for his podcast, formerly known as "Survival of the Fairest" ... which has since been renamed 'Survivor NSFW.'

CBS says it owns the logo, but what's interesting is the friendly language with which it approaches Jonny about using its logo.

Most warning shots are more threatening ... some examples here, here and here. But, not with Jonny.

In fact, CBS goes out of its way to play nice ... even saying they "appreciate interest in the Series, including a podcast about the Series."

But it's not all sweet talk. According to the letter, the studio has also noticed the season 7 third place finisher is selling apparel with the show's logo. CBS is worried Jonny's logo will cause fans to think the network endorses the podcast.

CBS ends the letter with, "We would like to set up a time to discuss the above with you. Please give me a call or send me an email with your availability."

As for Jonny, he tells TMZ in part ... "The fact that they are threatened and looking to punish those who are adding value to their content shows how behind the times CBS is. Targeting ME, and ME only considering my legacy, value, and positive life change is frankly illogical."

'Survivor' Contestant Allegedly Dropped the N-Word On the Reg, Years Ago

11:13 AM PT -- Jessica Peet tells TMZ ... "I want to apologize for what I posted as a 14-year-old teenager. In no way did I mean it in a derogatory nor racial way. I do hope people are willing to forgive, and understand I was immature and I've done a lot of growing up since then."

One of the 'Survivor' contestants from the upcoming season is catching heat before the show even airs ... for using the n-word so much on Twitter, you'd think she was Jay-Z.

19-year-old Jessica Peet is a cast member on "Survivor: David vs. Goliath" and, as it always does ... the Internet scoured her social media, and turned up scores of old tweets where she gratuitously drops the n-word.

She even defends using it, saying, "n***a isn't a cuss word !! Lol" -- and, in another, adds ... "I have a way with words..... N***a." Indeed.

The tweets, which 'Survivor' fans grabbed before they were deleted, are from 2013 to 2015. Many fans online are calling Peet a racist.

Sources close to the production tell TMZ ... CBS is aware of the situation, and Peet apologized by saying she was "young and dumb." She would've been between 14 and 16 at the time.

This drama comes on the heels of a pair of upcoming contestants getting into hot water for breaking their NDAs by posting a pic together ... before CBS revealed the cast.

We've reached out to CBS and Jessica for further comment ... so far, no word back.

Viral 'Hot Cop' Warns Survivor Cast Members Social Media Will Kill You!!!

The "hot cop" who scored a spot on the new season of 'Survivor' is schooling the other contestants on what he's learned from his 15 minutes of fame by warning them to delete "anything that can bite you in the ass over social media."

TMZ has obtained an email Daniel Rengering fired off in a chain with 12 other 'Survivor' contestants where he admits to creeping on their socials and warning them to "fine-tooth comb" anything that could publicly crucify them online.

Daniel warns the "Internet is a cruel, heartless bitch" where "trolls are going to work twice that hard to tear you down, spread nasty gossip and ruin your reputation."

Daniel's seen it happen firsthand after one of the cops in the photo that made him famous was accused of posting several anti-Semitic remarks to his Facebook in 2011, so it appears Daniel's intentions aren't to gloat, but rather to warn the others.

He also adds, "If a small-town country boy like me can host on the GRAMMYs, Oscars and SAG Awards Red Carpets, from a single viral photo, you guys can turn this opportunity into so much more."

'Survivor' Contestant Kara Kay Was A Willing Participant ... In Alec's IG Posts

BREAKIN' THE RULES

The 'Survivor' contestant who broke her NDA by allowing herself to be featured in a photo with her castmate isn't out of the woods yet ... 'cause there's more evidence of wrongdoing.

TMZ has learned that Kara Kay had been filmed in multiple videos taken by fellow 'Survivor' contender Alec Merlino in the days leading up to their now-infamous photo ... as well as in clips after it went up. She's seen hamming it up for the camera in all of them.

The videos make it clear -- Kara knew she was being recorded by Alec for his Instagram stories ... despite their $5 mil NDAs saying they were strictly forbidden from associating on social media. The pair apparently had a "F*** it" attitude ... just like the caption.

As we reported ... Alec is the only one punished for now. Producers are withholding his appearance fee of $10k and disinviting him to the finale taping.

It looks like punishment for Kara is in the works. True, she wasn't the one who posted the photo, but sources close to the production tell us the various videos she shot are ample evidence she broke confidentiality.

Stay tuned ...

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