ULC Celebrity Minister Profile: Jeff Probst

Published July 21, 2023

jeff probst on the red carpet

ULC ministers often choose to become ordained to marry friends or family. When the wedding officiant has a personal connection to the couple, the day becomes even more special. Jeff Probst, a celebrity minister, became ordained to officiate at the recommitment ceremony of his parents on a major wedding anniversary.

Hosting Is in His Blood

Most people might know Probst best as the host from “Survivor,” but his career began much earlier than 2001. He started out narrating marketing videos. Before Survivor, he hosted a series on VH1 called “Rock & Roll Jeopardy.”  For a short period in 1994, he hosted “Backchat,” an FX original program that answered questions about shows and stars on the network. He says he worked hard to get the meeting with Mark Burnett, who created the Survivor series, but the rest is history. He is now one of the most recognized hosts in reality TV.

His Family Is Important

When Probst married his second wife, Lisa Ann Russell, in 2011, he gained two stepchildren. He told Larry King, "They're not stepkids." The kids call him “dad.” There isn’t much publicity around his family. His mom, Barbara, appeared on “The Talk” in 2014 as “Jeff’s Mother.” Many news outlets reported that Probst officiated at his parent’s 35th wedding anniversary re-commitment ceremony, but IMDB reports that it was their 40th. Given that Probst was born in 1961, the latter seems more likely. Regardless of the anniversary, it was an unforgettable ceremony with Probst as the officiant.

He's Married More Couples

In 2010, while Probst was filming Survivor in Nicaragua, he still found time to return to California to officiate at the wedding of his good friend, actress Jenna Fischer from “The Office,” and her husband, Lee Kirk. It’s reported that Probst has also presided over other weddings. His background in marketing and hosting gives him an edge when officiating weddings. The officiate needs to be comfortable talking to a large audience but also comfortable being an almost invisible member of the wedding ceremony.

Probst – The Renaissance Man

In 2001, Probst was named one of People’s "50 Most Beautiful People.” He has appeared on “Celebrity Jeopardy!” Today, he helps write clues about Survivor for the game show. Probst has two films in which he is credited as a director. He has appeared in sitcoms as himself. There was a short-lived daytime talk show he hosted. It kind of makes you wonder if there’s anything this guy can’t do.

In 2013, he teamed up with another author to create an adventure series for middle school students. The series, “Stranded,” uses the idea of Survivor to get kids interested in reading. The premise is that four students are stranded in the South Pacific without any adults. The kids must fend for themselves. Probst has gone on to author many more books geared for kids.

Become an Ordained Minister

The Universal Life Church is a non-denominational religious organization that was founded in 1962. Through the ULC, anyone can become ordained as a minister to preside over weddings, as a prison minister or at funerals. The ULC advocates for religious freedom. Each person has a right to interpret what is right. There is no creed or book that outlines a person’s religion. People from every walk of life have been ordained to officiate at marriages. Atheists, agnostics, Buddhists and Christians can be ordained to perform functions associated with the clergy without going through years of seminary school.

This service is free and available completely online. Take the first step to becoming ordained by registering at the ULC. To officiate a wedding, you’ll want to learn more about the next steps, such as getting documentation to perform the ceremony in your location. You’ll also want to know what elements go into a wedding ceremony to make it legal. We take you through those steps to make you an effective officiant.

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