‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ contestant Dan Lembo dies at 75

‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ contestant Dan Lembo dies at 75

The real estate executive made it all the way to the final five in 2010.

Dan Lembo, a real estate executive and contestant on Survivor: Nicaragua who made it to the final five, died Sept. 3 at his home in Manhattan. He was 75.

“Daniel was a charismatic, larger-than-life, outgoing bon vivant,” an obituary from his family said. “He loved nothing more than spending time with his children and friends — new and old.”

Lembo was 63 when he competed on Survivor’s 21st season. While he struggled in the challenges, he was admired by his fellow castaways and remained in contention for the $1 million prize until he was voted off the island on day 37.

Dan Lembo on ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’

Dan Lembo on ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’

| Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

A Brooklyn native, Lembo attended New Utrecht High School and graduated from Brooklyn College. He primarily worked in real estate throughout his life, though he once made an appearance on The Sopranos, in season 3. “I was doing three things I don’t do,” Lembo told EW of his cameo back in 2010. “I was playing cards, smoking a cigarette, and drinking beer.”

As for how he wound up on Survivor, it was serendipity. “I didn’t even apply for the [show],” Lembo recalled. “They came to me. I was in a bar in Miami and some woman came over to me and said, ‘I’ve been observing you for the last half-hour… Would you like to be on the show Survivor?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ Me on television? How could I say no?”

Lembo credited his ability to “deal with people” as his edge in the competition. “I know how to work with people, and I know how to win a game,” he said. “Because I’ve done pretty well winning the game of life.”

Lembo’s survivors include his former spouse Barbara, sons Matthew and Michael, daughters-in-law Emily and Dana, and five grandchildren. 

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