Bear Grylls OBE is a British adventurer, writer, television presenter, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. He is a former SAS (Special Air Service) serviceman, survival instructor, and honorary lieutenant-colonel. He is also the ‘Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories.’ He is best known for his television series “Man vs. Wild.”
Bear Grylls was born as ‘Edward Michael Grylls’ on Friday, 7 June 1974 (age 45 years; as in 2019) in London, England. His zodiac sign is Gemini.
Until the age of 4, he grew up in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. Later, his family moved to the Bembridge village in the Isle of Wight, England. He completed his schooling from Eaton House, Ludgrove School and Eton College. He obtained his part-time BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Birkbeck, the University of London in 2001. He also did his bachelors from the University of West England. At an early age, he learned to sail and climb with his father. During his teenage, he learned to skydive and gained a second dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, becoming the youngest ever to do so, in the UK at that time.
Height (approx.): 5′ 11″
Weight (approx.): 80 kg
Body Measurement (approx.): Chest 40″, Waist 32″, Biceps 14″
Eye Colour: Grey
Hair Colour: Brown
Family, Ethnicity & Wife
Bear Grylls is an Anglican (a sect in Christianity). His father, Sir Michael Grylls was a British conservative politician.
His mother’s name is ‘Sarah (Sally) Grylls (née Ford).
He has an elder sister named, Lara Fawcett (cardio-tennis coach).
He belongs to the family of cricket background as his maternal grandfather, Neville Ford and great-maternal-grandfather, William Augustus Ford were both first-class cricketers.
His maternal grandmother, Patricia Ford was a politician. He got married to Shara Cannings Knight in 2000. The couple has three sons Marmaduke Mickey Percy Grylls, Huckleberry Edward Jocelyne Grylls, and Jesse Grylls.
Bear Grylls served in the British Army reserves with 21 SAS as a trooper trained in unarmed combat, desert and winter warfare, survival, climbing, parachuting, and explosives from 1994 to 1997. As a survival instructor, he was twice posted in South Africa.
In 1996, during free-fall parachuting, his canopy ripped at 1600 feet (500 m) above ground. It caused him to fall and land on his parachute pack on his back, which partially crushed his three vertebrae. Talking about the accident, he says-
I should have cut the main parachute and gone to the reserve but thought there was time to resolve the problem.”
As a result, his service in SAS ended in 1997. In 2004, he was awarded the honorary rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve. In 2013, he was awarded the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel in the Royal Marines Reserve.
He made his first television appearance in an advertisement for Sure Deodorant, which featured his conquest in Mount Everest.
He has hosted many series including “Escape to the Legion,” “Bear’s Wild Weekend,” “Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls,” “Escape from Hell,” “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” “Bear Grylls Survival School,” “Survivor Games,” and “You vs. Wild.” The most famous one being “Man vs. Wild,” which was broadcasted on British Channel 4 as “Born Survivor: Bear Grylls,” as “Man vs. Wild” in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and the United States, and as “Ultimate Survival” on the Discovery Channel in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
As a Motivational Speaker
He works as a motivational speaker, giving speeches at corporations, churches, schools, and other organisations.
As a Writer
He released his first book “Facing Up (UK)/The Kid Who Climbed Everest (US),” which described his voyage and achievements climbing to the summit of Mount Everest.
He has written many books about his expeditions, which includes “Facing the Frozen Ocean,” “Born Survivor: Bear Grylls,” “Bear Grylls Outdoor Adventures,” “A Survival Guide for Life,” and “True Grit.” In 2012, he wrote his Biography titled “Mud, Sweat and Tears: The Autobiography.”
He has written a series of children survival books titled “Mission Survival.”
He has also written thriller novels titled “Ghost Flight,” and “Burning Angels.”
As an Entrepreneur
Bear Grylls Ventures (a management company based in the UK, which manages television, books, films, licencing and endorsement deals for Bear Grylls) and NM Capital purchased “British Military Fitness” in September 2018 and rebranded it as “Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls.” It is led by the former or serving members of the British Armed Forces with recognised fitness training qualifications. The company is the largest outdoor fitness company in Europe with 140 public parks and outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom.
In 2012, he launched Bear Grylls Survival Academy in the UK, which offers a variety of survival courses to parents and their children, and adults.
- In 2007, Bear Grylls was found embroiled in a controversy after one of the programme consultants of the popular series “Man vs. Wild” claimed that Bear Grylls had spent his nights in a motel instead of wild and all the scenes were set for him. Bear Grylls had to apologize later for this, he said-
If people felt misled on how the first series was represented, I’m really sorry for that.”
- In 2012, the Discovery Channel terminated all the productions with Bear Grylls due to contractual disputes. However, Bear was seen working with them again.
- In 2015, he was criticised by Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) after he left his eldest son Jesse on Saint Tudwal’s Island along the North Wales coast as a part of their weekly practice mission.
- In 2016, Bear was criticised by Sir David Attenborough and various animal charities for killing animals for filming purpose in the show “The Island with Bear Grylls.”
- In 2017, Bear Grylls faced a potential fine after he was seen killing and cooking a frog while filming the episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” in the Rila National Park with Derek Hough.
Awards & Honours
- Appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to young people, media, and charity
- Honorary Doctorate by Harvard University
- GQ Best TV Personality of the Year Award in 2016
- GQ Men of the Year Award in 2016
- In 1997, he became the youngest Briton to climb the peak of Ama Dablam, Nepal.
- In 2005, he created a world record of having the highest open-air formal dinner party, alongside the balloonist and mountaineer, David Hempleman-Adams and Lieutenant Commander Alan Veal, leader of the Royal Navy Freefall Parachute Display Team.
- In 2007, Bear set the record of paramotoring in the Himalayas over Mount Everest.
- In 2008, he set another Guinness World Record for the longest continuous indoor freefall along with the double-amputee, Al Hodgson and the Scotsman Freddy MacDonald.
- In 2009, at the age of 35, he was appointed as the youngest ever ‘Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories.’
- Food: Salmon Steak, Burger
- Explorer: Ranulph Fiennes
- Sports: Tennis, Paragliding, Kayaking
Bear Grylls owns a Land Rover.
Bear Grylls has an estimated net worth of around $20 million.
- His father, Michael Grylls was implicated in the cash-for-questions affair, a political scandal of the 1990s.
- His father was a member of prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron.
- His sister, Lara Fawcett gave him the nickname when he was a week old.
- As a child, Bear joined Cub Scouts.
- Bear’s love for adventure was rooted by his father. His earliest memories with his father are of climbing on the sea cliffs and making boats with him.
- His parents and grandparents used to take him backpacking in the Appalachian Mountains and to their rustic cabin in Lake Hartwell, where he learned setting up camp, fishing, starting a fire and cook on it, and hunting wild berries.
- He wanted to become Robin Hood and John the Baptist in his childhood.
- Bear was bullied in his school. Years later, he decided to learn Karate and earned a black belt. He went to Japan to be trained as the youngest member of the Karate Union of Great Britain.
- Bear is a religious person. He is an Anglican and has described his faith as the ‘backbone’ of his life.
- Bear always had a natural faith as a kid, where he considered god as free, pretty wild, and natural. When he went to school, it all became religious and was all about going to church. He even said that he wasn’t really ‘interested in the God of endless school assemblies.’ He said that he had lost his faith until, his godfather died, who was like a second father to him. He was 16 then. When he lost him, he wanted to pray for him but couldn’t. He sat under the tree and prayed-
Will You be that friend to me that You were when I was like five or six and it felt natural? Amen.”
He further adds-
And that was actually a prayer of finding a faith. And I think for life now it’s still a continued journey of not letting too much of the religious stuff cloud the heart of faith that is very simple. It’s about being loved. It’s about being forgiven. It’s about finding home. And those are great things that all of us need.”
- He can speak English, French, and Spanish fluently.”
- After leaving his school, Bear decided to join the army and spent a few months hiking in the Himalayan mountains of Sikkim and West Bengal.
- After his free-fall parachute accident, he spent his 18 months in and out of military rehabilitation at Headley Court before being discharged. During those 18 months, he spent his time directing his efforts to achieve his childhood dream of climbing Mount Everest. On 16 May 1998, at the age of 23, he finally achieved his dream. At that time, he became one of the youngest people to climb the summit of Mount Everest.
- In 1997, he became the youngest Briton to climb the peak of Ama Dablam, Nepal, a peak that was once described as ‘unclimbable’ by Edmund Hillary.
- In 2000, to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), he led a team to circumnavigate the British Isles on Jet Skies in 30 days.
- To raise fund for his friend, who had lost his legs in a climbing accident, he rowed naked in a bathtub along the river Thames.
- In 2003, he led the team of five, including his childhood friend, SAS colleague, and Mount Everest climbing partner, Mick Crosthwaite in an open rigid inflatable boat on an unassisted crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean. They journeyed from Halifax, Nova Scotia to John o’ Groats, Scotland.
- In 2005, he created a world record of having the highest open-air formal dinner party, alongside the balloonist and mountaineer, David Hempleman-Adams and Lieutenant Commander Alan Veal, leader of the Royal Navy Freefall Parachute Display Team. The party was held under a hot-air balloon at 7,600 metres (25,000 ft), dressed in full mess dress and oxygen masks. He made over 200 parachute jumps to train for the event.
- In 2007, Bear set the record of paramotoring in the Himalayas over Mount Everest. He took off from 4,400 metres (14,500 ft), 8 miles south of the mountain and eventually, reached 9,000 metres (29,500 ft), almost 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) higher than the previous record of 6,102 metres (20,019 ft), coping with the temperature of −60 °C (−76 °F).
- To raise the funds for children’s charity Global Angels and to promote the use of alternative energies, he led a team of 4 to climb one of the most remote unclimbed peaks in the world in Antarctica in 2008. The mission also aimed at exploring the coast of Antarctica by inflatable boat and jetski powered by bioethanol and travel across the vast ice desert by kite ski and electric powered paramotor. Unfortunately, Bear suffered a broken shoulder while at the speed of 50 km/h across the stretch of ice, due to which, the expedition was cut short.
- Bear and Shara met for the first time on the New Year’s Eve in Scotland, when he was running naked around the beach. Shara helped him find his clothes. They had met just a few months before Bear went climbing Mount Everest.
- He is the ambassador for the ‘The Prince’s Trust,’ an organisation which gives training, financial, and practical support to young people in the United Kingdom. Apart from that, he is also the ambassador for the ‘Care for Children,’ an organisation that partners with the many governments in Asia to help create a positive alternative to institutional care through local family-based care for disadvantaged children.
- In 2014, he was announced as the global ambassador for Jaguar Land Rover.
- In 2015, Bear Grylls was interviewed for the cover of GQ Magazine and became the monthly columnist for the publication.
- In December 2015, the 44th American President Barack Obama came on a televised journey along with Bear Grylls in Alaska.
- In 2019, the 14th Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi also appeared along with Bear Grylls on his show, “Man vs. Wild.”
- Bear says that when he gets back home from filming, all that he needs is a cup of tea and bubble bath.
- According to Bear, the most disgusting thing that he had ever eaten was raw goat’s testicles and frozen yak eyeballs.
- He has two residences; one is a restored barge on the Thames and the other one is a private island in Wales. His home in wales is around 20 acres in area and is five miles away from the shore with no electricity or running water. It has a lighthouse and cottage.
- Bear Grylls is a fitness enthusiast. He trains 40 mins a day, six days a week. He does yoga, circuits and running, and exercises that keep his flexibility.
- He likes doing yoga and follows his yoga routine everywhere including airports, deserts, and middle of the jungle.
- He says that his least favourite destination is, Copenhagen. Describing his experience in Copenhagen, he says-
We went for new year and almost everything was shut. We finally found a hot chocolate shop where the cleaners were fans of the show and we got a lock-in, so it wasn’t all bad.”
- He plays the guitar and chose guitar as his one of the three things that he would need to survive if he would get stuck in an island.
- Bear considers his competitor Lee Stroud, the Canadian survival expert, filmmaker, and musician as ‘a real hero.’
- He credits his 50% of survival knowledge to his father and 99% to his military training. Talking about it, he says-
But as for the training, 99% was from the military and I learned a bunch as a kid with my dad, who’d been a commander and a climber and loved all this stuff. He’ll be turning in his grave if I only credit him with 1 percent… He’s about 50%! But he taught me the love of it, which actually counts for everything.”
- He is the founder of the first mountaineering club at Eton College, England.
- Bear Grylls never go out in the wild without his knife, Firesteel, and a small laminated picture of his family, which he keeps tucked in the sole of his shoes.
- Sometimes, Bear has faced situations that are close to the call of death or too difficult for him. At those times, Bear felt nervous but he kept on moving. Talking about it, Bear says-
I have learned that it is fine to feel like that —you gotta then put your head down and keep going — and that attitude has helped me so often.”
- He has eaten animals from almost every species on the planet. Still, he has never told his wife about it. When asked about the reason for that, he said-
My kids just laugh because they love all of that sort of stuff…they’re always trying to get me to eat some worms with them that they found in the garden. I don’t tell Shara [his wife] too much, otherwise she’d never kiss me.”
- The worst place he had to survive was the Black Swamps in Sumatra, Indonesia. It is the place where the tsunami had hit in 2001, and the whole place had turned into 65,000 stinking and rotten corpses with crocodiles feeding on them. Recollecting his memory of that place, he says-
I remember just before going in there the search and rescue guy saying ‘listen if you got any sort of cuts or grazes, give it a day to heal before you go in there because this place is stinking.’ … When I was first roping out of the helicopter, just before I hit the water, the rope caught my nipple and took all the flesh off. I went smashing into this stinking water and that was it for the next however many days. I thought, ‘this is great, isn’t it…yea.”
- According to Bear, the hardest place for him to shoot in was Scotland.
- Bear considers passing his SAS selection, climbing Mt. Everest, and his family, as the things that have made him the proudest in life.
- He has been declared as the Chief Ambassador of World Scouting.
- In 2019, his animated feature film “Bear Grylls Young Adventurer” was released. The story of the film revolves around the 13-year old Bear and his adventures.