Childhood & Early Life
Bear Grylls was born Edward Michael Grylls on 7 June 1974, in London, England, to Sir Michael Grylls and Lady Sarah ‘Sally’ Grylls. His elder sister Lara Fawcett gave him his nickname ‘Bear’ when he was just a week old.
He was raised in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. When he was four years old, his family shifted to the Bembridge village on the easternmost part of the Isle of Wight. When he was a child, he was trained to climb and sail by his father. He became a cub scout when he was eight years old.
He received education from institutions, such as ‘Ludgrove School’ and ‘Eton College.’ He initiated the establishment of a mountaineering club at ‘Eton College.’
In his youth, he was trained to skydive. He also obtained a black belt in Shotokan karate.
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He joined the ‘Territorial Army’ (Army Reserve UK) and worked at the ‘Special Air Service’ unit of the army for three years. He was a combat survival instructor and learnt demolitions, parachuting, unarmed combat, evasive driving, and trauma medic.
During this period, he met with an accident which led to a spinal injury. He underwent medication and rehabilitation in order to recover from the injury.
In 1997, he climbed Mount Ama Dablam, becoming the youngest British to achieve this feat.
He went hiking in the Himalayan Mountains of Sikkim and West Bengal, and on 16th May 1998, he climbed Mount Everest and registered his name in the ‘Guinness Book of Records.’
He went on a fund raising expedition for the ‘Royal National Lifeboat Institution’ (RNLI) and led a team on Jet Skis to circumnavigate the UK in the year 2000. This was a pioneering initiative, and the expedition took 30 days to complete.
In 2000, his first book ‘The Kid Who Climbed Everest’ was published. The book narrated his journey to the peak of the mountain. He then penned another book titled ‘Facing the Frozen Ocean.’ He has also authored books, such as ‘Born Survivor: Bear Grylls’ and ‘Bear Grylls Outdoor Adventures.’
He completed his part-time graduation in Hispanic studies from ‘Birkbeck, University of London’ in 2002. He also attended the ‘University of the West of England.’
In 2003, he went on an expedition to the north Atlantic Arctic Ocean, accompanied by a team comprising five members. They sailed from Nova Scotia to Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, and then Scotland.
This adventurer created a new record in 2005, when he organized the highest open-air formal dinner party. He organized the party along with mountaineer David Hempleman-Adams and Lieutenant Commander Alan Veal, leader of the ‘Royal Navy Freefall Parachute Display Team.’ The same year, he appeared in the television series ‘Escape to the Legion.’
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He undertook an expedition and led a team to para-motor over Angel Falls, which is the highest waterfall in the world in 2005.
In 2006, his tele-series ‘Man vs. Wild’ was launched. The show was initially titled ‘Born Survivor: Bear Grylls’ and was broadcast in the UK. Over the years, the show, which showcases how Grylls survives in some of the harshest environments, went on to become popular all over the world.
He created a new record in 2007, when he flew a parajet over the Himalayas. The following year, he was accompanied by double amputee Al Hodgson and Scotsman Freddy MacDonald when he created a ‘Guinness World Record’ for the ‘longest continuous indoor freefall.’
In the year 2009, he was made the chief scout of ‘The Scout Association’ when he was 35 years old. Thus, he became the youngest individual to hold the position of chief scout. His appointment was extended until 2020, making him the longest serving chief scout in the history.
This voyager, accompanied by a team of five, embarked on Northwest Passage expedition in a rigid-inflatable boat sailing through 2,500 miles in 2010. The same year, he appeared in a ‘Discovery’ channel show named ‘Worst-Case Scenario.’ The following year, he featured in the show ‘Bear’s Wild Weekend.’
In 2011, his book ‘Scouting For All’ was published. He also wrote a series of books under the title ‘Mission Survival.’ This series consists of books, such as ‘Mission Survival: Gold of the Gods,’ ‘Mission Survival: Way of the Wolf,’ ‘Mission Survival: Sands of the Scorpion,’ ‘Mission Survival: Tracks of the Tiger,’ and ‘Mission Survival: Claws of the Crocodile.’
The explorer inked his autobiography ‘Mud, Sweat and Tears: The Autobiography’ in the year 2012. This was followed by the publication of books, such as ‘A Survival Guide for Life’ and ‘True Grit.’
In 2013, he presented the show ‘Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls.’ The same year, a show titled ‘Bear Grylls: Escape From Hell’ premiered on TV. The following year, he hosted the show ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ which featured 13 men in a desolate island in the Pacific.
In 2014, his show ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls’ was launched. It featured celebrities like Tamron Hall, Zac Efron, Tom Arnold, Ben Stiller, Deion Sanders, and Channing Tatum.
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He hosted another reality show titled ‘Bear Grylls: Mission Survive’ in 2015. The show featured eight celebrities who had to perform certain tasks in order to survive in the show. The winner of the first season was DJ and model, Vogue Williams. The show was back with a new season in 2016 which was won by ‘Arsenal F.C’ player Alex Scott. The show was then canceled due to poor ratings.
He also presented the Chinese version of ‘Survivor Games’ in 2015 and ‘Bear Grylls Survivor School’ in 2016. He has since been a part of ‘Bear’s Mission With…’ which is England’s version of ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls.’ The show had different British celebrities going on an adventure with Grylls every episode.
In 2015, Bear went on an adventure into the Alaskan Wilderness with the then US President Barack Obama. He has also journeyed through the ‘Jim Corbett National Park’ alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a special episode, which was aired in 2019.
Bear has also written adult fiction books which include ‘The Ghost Flight’ (2015) and ‘Burning Angels’ (2016). In 2017, he released a book titled ‘How to Stay Alive: The Ultimate Survival Guide for Any Situation.’
Bear was appointed as the first ever chief ambassador of the ‘World Organization of the Scout Movement’ (WOSM) in 2018.