By Sheila Appleby Williams
Hollywood,CA(Hollywood Today)9/15/12/—For over thirteen years Dianne Burnett worked hand-in-hand with her (now ex) husband, Mark Burnett to launch Eco-Challenge, the premier epic-adventure event which spawned the monster television hit, Survivor (named the Number 1 Reality Series of all time by Entertainment Weekly). According to Dianne “With all due respect to Mark, I was often the Horatio to his Alger in our rags-to-riches story. I was the behind-the-scenes kingmaker, and the muse who delivered his “signs,” as well as his personal cheerleader.
But, the show’s “popularity was a double-edged sword.” By the second season in Australia, she says, “I noticed around then that he was no longer wearing his wedding ring.” Yet, “I didn’t even seriously consider that my marriage might be entirely over until Howard Stern clued me in,” Dianne writes about a 2002 interview when “Stern asked [Mark], ‘You’re still married?’ . . . There was a really, really long pause.”
“When I was cast off of Mark’s island, I took back my own power and recast myself in a new role: producer—in all senses of word, including being someone who tries to produce a positive effect on the world.” Not content to remain a disgruntled member of Hollywood First Wives Club-Dianne has gone beyond surviving to thriving. She is an author, producer, and actor of stage and screen.
In memory of her mother, Joan, who lost her battle with esophageal cancer in 2010, Dianne formed Joan Valentine—A Foundation for Natural Cures, a nonprofit organization that serves as a resource for those seeking alternatives to traditional medicine. She is also a philanthropist and entrepreneur. Ms. Burnett’s rise and fall and subsequent rise is detailed in the book, The Road to Reality — out Sept. 18 and subtitled, “Voted Off the Island! My Journey as a Real-Life Survivor”
Notables in attendance at the launch of her book at the Italian chic, Mr. C Hotel included: Fred Segal(philanthropist and retail entrepreneur),Kathy Smith(workout wonderwoman) and Michael Beckwith (founder of Agape International Spiritual Center). Ms. Burnett has also recently launched a multimedia platform and social network: called The Other Side — it explores alternative views on everything from relationships to health. In a recent interview she said: “I’m not taking away anything Mark has done, but I know what I contributed . . . People may think, ‘Why the heck is she doing this now?’ I had to take time for my heart and soul to heal.”