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Bear Grylls
Bear Grylls 2.jpg
Bear Grylls in June 2009
Born Edward Michael Grylls
(1974-06-07) 7 June 1974 (age 43)
United Kingdom
Residence A barge moored by Battersea Bridge on the River Thames, England[1]
An island on Llŷn Peninsula, Abersoch, North Wales[2]
Occupation Chief Scout
Motivational speaker
Television presenter
Spouse(s) Shara Cannings Knight[3]
Children Jesse, Marmaduke[4] and Huckleberry[5]
Parent(s) Sir Michael Grylls
Lady Grylls (née Sarah Ford)

Edward Michael "Bear" Grylls (born 7 June 1974) is a British adventurer, writer and television presenter. He is best known for his television series Man vs. Wild, known as Born Survivor in the United Kingdom. In July 2009, Grylls was appointed the youngest ever Chief Scout at the age of 35.

Personal life[edit]

Grylls grew up in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland until the age of 4 when his family moved to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.[6][7] He is the son of the late Conservative party politician Sir Michael Grylls and Lady Sarah Grylls.[8] Lady Grylls was the daughter of Patricia Ford,[9] briefly an Ulster Unionist Party MP, and cricketer and businessman Neville Ford. Grylls has one sibling, an elder sister, Lara Fawcett, a cardio-tennis coach, who gave him the nickname 'Bear' when he was a week old.[10]

Grylls was educated at Eaton House, Ludgrove School, Eton College, where he helped start its first mountaineering club,[11] and Birkbeck, University of London School of Continuing Education (aka the Faculty of Lifelong Learning),[12] where he graduated with a degree, obtained part-time, in Hispanic studies in 2002. From an early age, he learned to climb and sail from his father, who was a member of the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron. As a teenager, he learned to skydive and earned a second dan black belt in Shotokan karate. He practices yoga and ninjutsu. At age eight he became a Cub Scout.[13] He speaks English, Spanish, and French.[14] Grylls is a Christian, describing his faith as the "backbone" in his life.[15]

Grylls married Shara Grylls (née Cannings Knight) in 2000.[3][9] They have three sons: Jesse, Marmaduke,[16] and Huckleberry.[5]


Bear Grylls is one of the many survivors of the Holocaust, He was there as a 20 year old man. This then spured him on to do his series on the discovery channel. Not much is know about his time in the camps, except that is where he took his first life.

Territorial Army[edit]

After leaving school, Grylls considered joining the Indian Army and hiked in the Himalayan mountains of Sikkim.[17] Grylls joined the Territorial Army and served part-time with the Artists Rifles 21 Regiment, 21 SAS(R), for three years until 1996.

In 1996, he suffered a freefall parachuting accident in Zambia. His canopy ripped at 4,900 metres (16,000 ft), partially opening, causing him to fall and land on his parachute pack on his back, which partially crushed three vertebrae. Grylls later said: "I should have cut the main parachute and gone to the reserve but thought there was time to resolve the problem".[18] According to his surgeon, Grylls came "within a whisker" of being paralysed for life and at first it was questionable whether he would ever walk again. Grylls spent the next 12 months in and out of military rehabilitation at Headley Court[18] before being discharged from his medical treatment and directing his efforts into trying to get well enough to fulfil his childhood dream of climbing Mount Everest.

In 2004, Grylls was awarded the honorary rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve for services to charity and human endeavour.[19]


Grylls entered television work with an appearance in an advertisement for Sure deodorant, featuring his ascent of Mount Everest. Grylls was also used by the UK Ministry of Defence to head the Army's anti-drugs TV campaign, and featured in the first ever major advertising campaign for the world-renowned department store Harrods. Grylls has been a guest on television programs, including Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Attack of the Show, Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Harry Hill's TV Burp. Grylls recorded two advertisements for Post's Trail Mix Crunch Cereal, which aired in the US from January 2009. He also appeared as a distinguished instructor in Dos Equis' Most Interesting Academy in a webisode named "Survival in the Modern Era". He appeared in a five-part web series that demonstrates urban survival techniques and features Grylls going from bush to bash. He also has marketed the Alpha Course, a course on the basics of the Christian faith. Warner Bros. had asked Grylls to appear in its remake of the film Clash of the Titans.[20] In 2013, Grylls appeared in an airline safety video for Air New Zealand. The video, entitled Bear Essentials of Safety, was filmed against the backdrop of the Routeburn Track on the southern tip of New Zealand's south island.[21]


Grylls' first book, titled Facing Up, went into the UK top 10 best-seller list,[citation needed] and was launched in the USA entitled The Kid Who Climbed Everest. About his expedition and achievements climbing to the summit of Mount Everest. Grylls' second book Facing the Frozen Ocean was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2004. His third book was written to accompany the series Born Survivor: Bear Grylls. (Released in America in April 2008 to the Man vs. Wild Discovery television show) It features survival skills learned from some of the world's most hostile places. This book reached the Sunday Times Top 10 best-seller list.[citation needed] He also wrote an extreme guide to outdoor pursuits, titled Bear Grylls Outdoor Adventures. In 2011, Grylls released his autobiography Mud, Sweat and Tears: The Autobiography.[22] A Survival Guide for Life was released on 25 October 2012.[23]

He has a series of children's adventure survival books titled: Mission Survival: Gold of the Gods, Mission Survival: Way of the Wolf, Mission Survival: Sands of the Scorpion and Mission Survival: Tracks of the Tiger. Following his appointment as Chief Scout in 2009, he wrote Scouting For All which was published by the Scout Association in 2011.[24]

Escape to the Legion[edit]

Grylls filmed a four-part TV show in 2005, called Escape to the Legion, which followed Grylls and eleven other "recruits" as they took part in a shortened re-creation of the French Foreign Legion's basic desert training in the Sahara. The show was broadcast in the UK on Channel 4,[25] and in the USA on the Military Channel.[26] In 2008, it was repeated in the UK on the History Channel.[27]

Born Survivor / Man vs. Wild[edit]

Grylls hosts a series titled Born Survivor: Bear Grylls for the British Channel 4 and broadcast as Man vs. Wild in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and the U.S.A., and as Ultimate Survival on the Discovery Channel in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The series features Grylls dropped into inhospitable places, showing viewers how to survive. Man vs. Wild debuted in 2006 and went on to become the number one cable show in all of America and now reaches a global audience of over 1.2 billion viewers.[16] The second season premièred in the US in June 2007, the third in November 2007, and the fourth in May 2008.

The show has featured stunts including Grylls climbing cliffs, parachuting from helicopters, balloons, and planes, paragliding, ice climbing, running through a forest fire, wading rapids, eating snakes, wrapping his urine-soaked t-shirt around his head to help stave off the desert heat, drinking urine saved in a rattlesnake skin, drinking fecal liquid from elephant dung, eating deer droppings, wrestling alligators, field dressing a camel carcass and drinking water from it, eating various "creepy crawlies" [insects], utilising the corpse of a sheep as a sleeping bag and flotation device, free climbing waterfalls and using a bird guano/water enema for hydration.[28][29] Grylls also regales the viewer with tales of adventurers stranded or killed in the wilderness.

In March 2012 the Discovery Channel dropped Grylls from its lineup because of a contractual dispute.[30]

Worst Case Scenario[edit]

In 2010, Grylls' came out with a new project titled Worst Case Scenario which aired on Discovery in the USA. It is based on the popular books of the same name.[31] 12 episodes were produced before the show was cancelled.


Grylls apologised after claims surfaced that parts of Born Survivor were faked. The show saw Grylls supposedly abandoned in the wild, but a programme consultant claimed he stayed in a motel and scenes were set up for him. He told the Sunday Times newspaper that Grylls spent nights in a motel in Hawaii when he was claimed to be stranded on a desert island.[32]

Other pursuits[edit]


On 16 May 1998, Grylls achieved his childhood dream (an ambition since his father gave him a picture of Everest when he was eight) and entered the Guinness Book of Records, as the youngest Briton, at 23, to summit Mount Everest, just eighteen months after injuring his back. James Allen, an Australian climber who ascended Everest in 1995 with an Australian team, but who has dual Australian/British citizenship, reached the summit at age 22.[33][34] Grylls' record has since been surpassed by Jake Meyer and, at age 19, by Rob Gauntlett.)

Circumnavigation of the UK[edit]

In 2000 Grylls led the first team to circumnavigate the UK on a personal water craft, taking about 30 days, to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). He also rowed naked for 22 miles in a homemade bathtub along the Thames to raise funds for a friend who lost his legs in a climbing accident.[35]

Crossing the North Atlantic[edit]

Three years later, he led a team of five, including his childhood friend, SAS colleague, and Mount Everest climbing partner Mick Crosthwaite, on the first unassisted crossing of the north Atlantic Ocean, in an open rigid inflatable boat. Suffering weeks of frozen spray and icebergs, battling force 8 gale winds, hypothermia, and storms in an eleven-metre-long boat through some of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world including the Labrador Sea, the Denmark Strait, and the stretch made famous by The Perfect Storm, Grylls and his team were just barely able to finish the journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia to John o' Groats, Scotland.

Paramotoring over Angel Falls[edit]

In 2005, Grylls led the first team ever to attempt to paramotor over the remote jungle plateau of the Angel Falls in Venezuela, the world's highest waterfall. The team was attempting to reach the highest, most remote tepuis.

Dinner party at altitude[edit]

In 2005, alongside the balloonist and mountaineer David Hempleman-Adams and Lieutenant Commander Alan Veal, leader of the Royal Navy Freefall Parachute Display Team, Grylls created a world record for the highest open-air formal dinner party, which they did under a hot-air balloon at 7,600 metres (25,000 ft), dressed in full mess dress and oxygen masks. To train for the event, he made over 200 parachute jumps. This was in aid of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and The Prince's Trust.

Paramotoring over the Himalayas[edit]

In 2007, Grylls claimed to have broken a new world record by flying a Parajet paramotor over the Himalayas, higher than Mount Everest.[36] Grylls took off from 4,400 metres (14,500 ft), 8 miles south of the mountain. Grylls reported looking down on the summit during his ascent and coping with temperatures of −60 °C (−76 °F). He endured dangerously low oxygen levels 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). The feat was filmed for Discovery Channel worldwide as well as Channel 4 in the UK.[37] While Grylls initially planned to cross over Everest itself, the permit was only to fly to the south of Everest, and he did not traverse Everest out of risk of violating Chinese airspace.[38]

Journey Antarctica 2008[edit]

In 2008, Grylls lead a team of four to climb one of the most remote unclimbed peaks in the world in Antarctica. This was raising funds for Global Angels kids charity and awareness for the potential of alternative energies. During this mission the team also aimed to explore the coast of Antarctica by inflatable boat and jetski, part powered by bioethanol, and then to travel across some of the vast ice desert by wind-powered kite-ski and electric powered paramotor. However, the expedition was cut short after Grylls suffered a broken shoulder while kite skiing across a stretch of ice. Travelling at speeds up to 50 km/h (30 mph), a ski caught on the ice, launching him in the air and breaking his shoulder when he came down. He had to be medically evacuated.[39]

Longest indoor freefall[edit]

Grylls, along with the double amputee Al Hodgson and the Scotsman Freddy MacDonald, set a Guinness world record in 2008 for the longest continuous indoor freefall.[40] The previous record was 1 hour 36 minutes by a US team. Grylls, Hodgson, and MacDonald, using a vertical wind tunnel in Milton Keynes, broke the record by a few seconds. The attempt was in support of the charity Global Angels.

Northwest Passage expedition[edit]

In August 2010, Grylls lead a team of five to take an ice-breaking rigid-inflatable boat (RIB) through 2,500 miles (4,000 km) of the ice strewn Northwest Passage. The expedition intended to raise awareness of the effects of global warming and to raise money for children's charity Global Angels.[41]

Chief Scout[edit]

On 17 May 2009, The Scout Association announced Grylls would be appointed Chief Scout following the end of Peter Duncan's five-year term in July 2009.[42] He was officially made Chief Scout at Gilwell 24 on 11 July 2009 in a handover event featuring Peter Duncan in front of a crowd of over 3,000 Explorer Scouts. He is the tenth person to hold the position and the youngest Chief Scout since the role was created for Robert Baden-Powell in 1920.[43][44]


Grylls is an ambassador for The Prince's Trust, an organisation which provides training, financial, and practical support to young people in the United Kingdom.[16] He is also vice president for The JoLt Trust, a small charity that takes disabled, disadvantaged, abused or neglected young people on challenging month-long expeditions.

Global Angels, a UK charity which seeks to aid children around the world, were the beneficiaries of his 2007 accomplishment of taking a powered para-glider higher than Mount Everest. Grylls's held the highest ever dinner party at 7,600 metres (25,000 ft) in aid of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, and launched the 50th anniversary of the Awards. His successful circumnavigation of Britain on jet skis raised money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Grylls' Everest climb was in aid of SSAFA Forces Help, a British-based charitable organisation set up to help former and serving members of the British Armed Forces and their families and dependents. His 2003 Arctic expedition detailed in the book Facing the Frozen Ocean was in aid of The Prince's Trust. His 2005 attempt to para-motor over the Angel Falls was in aid of the charity Hope and Homes for Children.[45] In August 2010, Grylls continued his fund-raising work for Global Angels by undertaking an expedition through the Northwest Passage in a rigid inflatable boat. Many of his expeditions also support environmental causes such as his Antarctica expedition and his circumnavigation of Britain which tested a pioneering new fuel made from rubbish. In 2011, Grylls was in New Zealand during the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Following the incident, he appeared on New Zealand advertisements encouraging people to donate money to help rebuild the city.

Other work[edit]

A Gerber Bear Grylls branded survival knife.

Outside of TV, Grylls works as a motivational speaker, giving speeches worldwide to corporations, churches, schools, and other organisations.[46] He is also a spokesman for and owner of a Juice Plus franchise. Grylls has his own outdoor survival clothing range produced by British manufacturer Craghoppers as well as a series of knives and survival equipment manufactured by Gerber.

See also[edit]

  • Ray Mears, UK survival expert and TV presenter
  • Bruce Parry, British adventurer and TV presenter
  • Les Hiddins, Australian survival expert and TV presenter
  • Les Stroud, Canadian survival expert and TV presenter


  1. ^ "Who dares wins". The Echo. 17 April 2004. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  2. ^ Hastie, Jenny, "This is where we hide from the world", July 2005
  3. ^ a b "Out of the Wild: Bear Grylls survives the urban jungle". Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  4. ^ "Bear Grylls : Man vs. Wild". Discovery Channel. Archived from the original on 14 July 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Bear Grylls Welcomes Son Huckleberry Celebrity Baby Blog, 15 January 2009
  6. ^ "Sunday Life reclaims the celebs with Ulster ties". The Belfast Telegraph. 1 November 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "My Life In Travel: Bear Grylls", 17 April 2004
  8. ^ "Obituary: Sir Michael Grylls", 13 February 2001
  9. ^ a b "Person Page 24749". Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  10. ^ Dudman, Jane (12 January 2011). "Leading questions: Bear Grylls, chief Scout". The Guardian. London. 
  11. ^ Kate Mikhail. "Life support". Guardian. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  12. ^ "History of Birkbeck: 1900s". Birkbeck. Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Ask Bear Your Questions"
  15. ^ Alpha course interview
  16. ^ a b c "Biography". Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  17. ^ "Bear Grylls". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Petty, Moira (24 April 2007). "Adventurer Bear Grylls' battle with back pain and high cholesterol". Daily Mail. UK. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  19. ^ "News and Events: Royal Navy – Honorary Officers of the RNR". The Royal Navy. 2006. Retrieved 19 May 2007. 
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ Safety video on The Guardian website
  22. ^ Grylls, Bear (1 May 2012). Mud, Sweat and Tears: The Autobiography. William Morrow. ISBN 0062124196. 
  23. ^ Grylls, Bear (25 October 2012). A Survival Guide for Life. Bantam Press. ISBN 0593071034. 
  24. ^ The Official Scout Shop - Bear Grylls, Scouting for All
  25. ^ "Escape to the Legion"
  26. ^ "Military Channel: TV Listings: Escape to the Legion". The Military Channel. 2007. Archived from the original on 26 May 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2007. 
  27. ^ "ESCAPE TO THE LEGION: Escape To The Legion – Part 4". The 24 March 2008. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2008. 
  28. ^ Barrett, Annie (2009-06-24). "Man vs. Wild(Entertainment Tonight)". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  29. ^ "Man vs. Wild/Guano Enema(Discovery Channel Video)". 2010-12-22. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  30. ^ BBC News, 14 March 2012, Bear Grylls sacked by Discovery Channel. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  31. ^ "Outside Online May 2010 Issue". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Bear-faced cheek of adventurer who sneaked off to hotels", Daily Mail, London, 23 July 2007 
  34. ^ Summit Magazine No. 40, Winter 2005, page 12
  35. ^ Blundell, Joanna, "A Boys Own adventure", 7 April 2003
  36. ^ "Latest News". Bear Grylls. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2007. 
  37. ^ Grylls, Bear, "Flying Into A Dream" 19 May 2007
  38. ^ Martin, Nicole, "Explorer hits heights with Himalayan record" 16 May 2007
  39. ^ "Diary: From Bear", 6 December 2008
  40. ^ "Bear Grylls breaks Guinness World Record at Airkix Milton Keynes". 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2009.  [dead link]
  41. ^ Shields, Rachel (11 April 2010). "Ice cold and waterlogged with the born survivor". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  42. ^ Pugh, Oliver, "Grylls puts on his woggle and scouts out a new challenge", 18 May 2009
  43. ^ Quinn, Ben, "Survivalist Bear Grylls named as new Chief Scout", 17 May 2009
  44. ^ "Bear Grylls announced as new Chief Scout", 17 May 2009
  45. ^ Murray Norton (2005). "Fancy An Adventure". Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2007.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  46. ^ "Speaker: Bear Grylls"

External links[edit]

The Scout Association
Preceded by
Peter Duncan
Chief Scout of the United Kingdom
and Overseas Territories

2009 – present

Category:Alumni of Birkbeck, University of London Category:Artists' Rifles soldiers Category:British karateka Category:British summiters of Mount Everest Category:English Christians Category:English explorers Category:English motivational speakers Category:English mountain climbers Category:English non-fiction writers Category:English people of Northern Ireland descent Category:English television presenters Category:Living people Category:People associated with Scouting Category:People educated at Eton College Category:People educated at Ludgrove School Category:The Scout Association Category:Special Air Service soldiers Category:Survivalists Category:1974 births