Rudy’s wife Marge Boesch died

For the second time this season, an episode of Survivor Gabon has been dedicated to the memory of someone who has died. Last night’s episode was in memory of Marge Boesch, the wife of first-season contestant Survivor Rudy Boesch, the cranky old man who aligned himself with and befriended Richard Hatch. His wife, Marjorie E. Boesch, died Nov. 1 at the age of 76, and a memorial service was held Monday.

An obituary in The Virginian-Pilot mentions her work (She “was a retired unit secretary with Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital” and “also a volunteer for the Red Cross and served as secretary and treasurer for the UDT-SEAL Association”), but it doesn’t mention the cause of death. Elsewhere, a fan wrote in July that Marge was sick, but again didn’t mention what was wrong. There’s a condolences guest book on the funeral home’s web site.

Marge was married to Rudy for 53 years, and I found her to be a remarkably kind and engaging person when I met her in 2007, in Birmingham, Alabama, at one of Survivor Africa winner Ethan Zohn’s charity soccer tournaments. She clearly loved and supported Rudy, but also stood on her own, and was amusingly perceptive about the weird world of reality TV fame.

Standing near American Idol 4‘s Constantine Maroulis at a party, Marge said quietly to me, “These women would die if they knew I was this close to him.” Earlier, at the soccer game, she watched his fans swoon over him, and told me, “They were so excited when he took off his shoes. They’d never seen his bare feet before.”

Before the game, a publicist told her that all of the cast members needed to be ready to sign interviews in two minutes and be seated, essentially assigning the task of corralling the cast members to Marge instead of doing it herself. I said something about her getting a job, and Marge said, “Yeah, I gotta be the mean guy.” I doubt that was ever the case.

Marjorie Boesch [The Virginian-Pilot]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.