Saturday, October 4, 2003

Local 'Survivor' veteran faces financial reality

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Now that Lillian Morris has been voted out of Survivor: Pearl Islands, she has a new goal: economic survival.

"You know, I lost my job to do this. I'm no longer employed," says Morris, 51, who was the third person eliminated from CBS' reality series on Thursday's episode.

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"I have a son in college, and a daughter who's a senior in high school. So I've got to find something," she says, referring to Clayton, 22, at Wright State University, and Megan, 18, at Kings High School.

Morris, scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 617 in Loveland, says she welcomes the opportunity to meet with the Tristate's rabid Survivor fans, or speak to groups.

"I welcome this. It would not be bothering me. I love meeting people. I do hope I get asked to do some things in Cincinnati," says Morris, who lives in Deerfield Township with her husband of 30 years, Lonnie, a transportation supervisor for a food service company.

Morris, who was nine years older than any other Survivor contestant, says she was sent home in the third episode because the men wanted to keep a younger woman in the camp - mortician Darrah Johnson, 22, from Mississippi - who was doing far less work.

"I was the Cincinnati workaholic, but I didn't look like Darrah," she says. "I know they knew my value. But you know how young men are: They value a pretty face more than anything else."

Morgan tribe teammates were critical of Morris for losing their last fish hook in the episode. But two others also had lost hooks, she says. "That was just an excuse," she says.

Morris was in New York on Friday to appear on CBS' Early Show. She will remain in Manhattan all weekend, and appear on David Letterman's Late Show (11:35 p.m. Monday, Channels 12, 7). But all the media attention comes with a price: She missed her daughter's senior year homecoming Friday in Warren County.

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