November 13, 2000 12:00 PM

There are certain things Rudy Boesch’s Navy SEAL buddies understand about him: After 45 years of military service, the 72-year-old retiree still wakes at dawn, takes military showers (water off while soaping up) and follows a daily exercise regimen that keeps his fit 5’10” frame at the same 175 lbs. he was when he enlisted in the Navy at 17. But what of the female fans who now approach Survivor‘s affable curmudgeon and ask for autographs—on their bare breasts or bottoms? “He has an aura,” says retired SEAL Billy Burbank with a shrug. “Us guys don’t see it, but the women sure do.” Actually, some guys do too. Despite Boesch’s on-air wisecracks about Survivor winner Richard Hatch’s homosexuality, Hatch says he couldn’t help but like his “forthright, trustworthy” tribemate, who, he adds, is “humorous and kind-hearted.” When Boesch wasn’t away at sea, reveals his wife of 45 years, Marge, 68, he was a master at bottle warming. “When our three daughters were babies, I never had to get up at night,” she says. Since Survivor, Boesch has had to buy a tuxedo for all the Hollywood events he’s invited to. But the attention “hasn’t fazed me a bit,” he says. “Movie stars don’t impress me. Discipline does. I’d rather talk to a soldier.” Or better yet, cook vegetable soup in his Virginia Beach, Va., kitchen alongside his granddaughter Kelsey, 2, the only new lady in his life—for now, at least. “A while ago a woman called and said, ‘If you ever get tired of him, I’ll take him off your hands,’ ” Marge recalls. “I said, ‘What’s your phone number?’ ”

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