Childhood & Early Life
Mike Rowe was born as Michael Gregory Rowe on March 18, 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland. Both his parents, John and Peggy Rowe, were teachers. He is the eldest of his parents’ three children; he has two younger brothers named Scott and Phil.
He had his schooling at Overlea High School. While studying there, he developed an interest in theater and singing, excelling in them under choir director Freddie King. Later he credited King for kindling his interest in performing.
In 1979, while studying at the high school, he became Eagle Scout and during a service project, he was required to read out loudly to the students at the Maryland School for the Blind. The incident stimulated his interest in writing and narrating.
In 1980, he graduated from Overlea High School and thereafter he entered Essex Community College, but soon he moved to Towson University, from where he graduated in 1985, earning his degree in communications studies
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In 1984, Mike Rowe entered Baltimore Opera with faked credentials, intending to get a SAG certificate, which was essential for entering the television industry. Ultimately, he got the certificate for his performance of ‘Rigoletto’; yet he continued with his job because he had by then begun to enjoy his experience.
From the middle of 1980s, he began to host ‘Your New Home’ for WJZ-TV in Baltimore, continuing to do so for the next fifteen years. Meanwhile in 1990, he auditioned for QVC Shopping Channel simply because a friend made a bet of $100 that he would not get a call back.
At the audition, he talked about a pencil for eight minutes, which landed him with an on-the-spot appointment. He was however fired after three years for making fun of the products and the callers. But by then, he had become an expert in talking without any substance for long period.
After working with numerous freelance jobs throughout 1990s, he got his first breakthrough in 2000, when he started working as a host and a narrator for the History Channel television series, ‘The Most’. The show, which covered various ‘most’ subjects, continued till 2004.
From 2001 to 2005, he hosted ‘Evening Magazine’ on KPIX-TV in San Francisco, also appearing in a news segment titled ‘Somebody’s Gotta Do It’. Meanwhile in 2002, he appeared as a narrator in the thirteen episodes of ‘Worst Case Scenarios’.
In ‘Somebody’s Gotta Do It’, he recorded a number of unpleasant professions including a graphic piece on cow artificial insemination. Later, he sent the tape to Discovery channel, which commissioned a series based on the format, resulting in the creation of ‘Dirty Jobs’.
In November 2003, ‘Dirty Jobs’ began as a three pilot episodes, returning as a series on July 26, 2005. It became hugely popular, ultimately running for eight seasons until September 12, 2012. Concurrently, he continued appearing in other productions like ‘American Hot Rod’ (2004), ‘Ghost Hunters’ (2004-2010) etc.
From 2005, he started working as narrator for ‘Deadliest Catch’; a job he continues to do till date. Some of his important works of the last decade include ‘The Ultimate Fighter (2005-2010), ‘Shark Week’ (2006), ‘After the Catch’ (2007-2012), ‘American Dad!’ (2007), ‘Ghost Hunters International’ (2008-2010), and ‘Wild Pacific’ (2009).
Also in 2000s, he emerged as a pitchman, appearing in several Ford Motor Company F-Series truck commercials since 2007. Later, he also appeared for other companies such as Motorola iDEN, Lee Premium Select Jeans, Caterpillar, Viva paper towels, Novartis etc.
In 2012, he appeared as himself in ‘How Booze Built America’. Also in 2010s, he appeared as a narrator in ‘How the Universe Works’ (2010, 2014-present) and ‘Airplane Repo’ (2013-present) and hosted shows like ‘Bering Sea Gold’ (2013-2018), ‘Building America’ (2014) and ‘Somebody Gotta Do It’ (2014-2015 on CNN).
Other than continuing his work as a narrator in series like ‘Deadliest Catch’, ‘Airplane Repo’, he is currently hosting three shows. Among them are a web series entitled ‘C.R.A.P. (since 2013), the reality web television series, 'Returning the Favor' (since 2017) and ‘Somebody Gotta Do It’ (since 2017 on TBN)