|182 cm (5′ 12”)
| June 7,
He had an interest in karate, skydiving and sailing as a teen.
Grylls was born in London, England in 1974. From a family with strong cricketing background, his grandfather Neville Ford and great-great-grandfather William Augustus Ford, were both first-class cricketers. He grew up in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland until the age of four, when his family moved to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.
On 16 May 1998, Grylls achieved his childhood dream of climbing to the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal, 18 months after breaking three vertebrae in a parachuting accident. At 23, he was at the time among the youngest people to have achieved this feat. There is some dispute over whether he was the youngest Briton to have done so, as he was preceded by James Allen, a climber holding dual Australian and British citizenship, who reached the summit in 1995 at age 22. The record has since been surpassed by Jake Meyer and then Rob Gauntlett who summitted at age 19. To prepare for climbing at such high altitudes in the Himalayas, in 1997, Grylls became the youngest Briton to climb Ama Dablam, a peak once described by Sir Edmund Hillary as “unclimbable”.
Grylls married Shara Cannings Knight in 2000. They have three sons named Jesse (born 2003), Marmaduke (born 2006) and Huckleberry (born 2009).
In 2000, Grylls led the team to circumnavigate the British Isles on jet skis, taking about 30 days, to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). He also rowed naked in a homemade bathtub along the Thames to raise funds for a friend who lost his legs in a climbing accident.
Grylls was educated at Eaton House, Ludgrove School and Eton College, where he helped start its first mountaineering club. He studied Spanish and German at the University of the West of England, Bristol and at Birkbeck College, where he graduated with a 2:2 bachelor’s degree, obtained part-time, in Hispanic studies in 2002.
In 2003, he led a team of five, including his childhood friend, SAS colleague, and Mount Everest climbing partner Mick Crosthwaite, on an unassisted crossing of the north Atlantic Ocean, in an open rigid inflatable boat. Grylls and his team traveled in an eleven-metre-long boat and encountered force 8 gale winds with waves breaking over the boat while passing through icebergs in their journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia to John o’ Groats, Scotland.
In 2004, Grylls was awarded the honorary rank of lieutenant commander in the Royal Naval Reserve; and in 2013 he was awarded the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel in the Royal Marines Reserve.
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 event was in aid of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and The Prince’s Trust.
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 first broadcast in the UK on Channel 4, and in the US on the Military Channel.
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 United States, 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 its success led it to lasting seven seasons over five years.
In 2007, Grylls embarked on a record-setting Parajet paramotor in Himalayas near Mount Everest. He took off from 4,400 metres (14,500 ft), 8 miles (13 km) 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. 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.
In 2008, Grylls led a team of four to climb one of the most remote unclimbed peaks in the world in Antarctica, to raise funds for children’s charity Global Angels and promote the use 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
In September 2010, Grylls led a team of five to take an ice-breaking rigid-inflatable boat (RIB) through 5,700 nautical miles (10,600 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.
In 2010, Grylls came out with a new project titled Worst-Case Scenario which aired on Discovery in the US. It is based on the popular books of the same name. Twelve episodes were produced before the show was cancelled.
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.
In 2011, he made two specials under the title Bear’s Wild Weekend for Channel 4 in the UK which was broadcast over the Christmas holiday that year. Each special featured Grylls taking either Jonathan Ross or Miranda Hart on short two-day adventures; Ross to rainforest in the Canary Islands, Hart to the Swiss Alps. These screened in the US under the title Bear Grylls’ Wild Adventure. A third episode with Stephen Fry, this time in the Dolomite mountains of South Tyrol, screened in late 2013.
In 2012, Grylls released his autobiography, Mud, Sweat and Tears: The Autobiography, followed by A Survival Guide for Life in late 2012 and True Grit in 2013.
In March 2012, the Discovery Channel dropped Grylls from its lineup because of a contractual dispute, although he has subsequently worked with them again.
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 Harrods. Grylls has been a guest on numerous talk shows 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. In 2013, Grylls appeared in an airline safety video for Air New Zealand entitled Bear Essentials of Safety, filmed against the backdrop of the Routeburn Track on the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. In 2014, Grylls appeared on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.
Grylls hosted Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls, a reality competition series filmed in New Zealand, which premiered on NBC on 8 July 2013.
In Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell, he reveals the true life stories of ordinary people trapped in extraordinary situations of survival. The six-episode series premiered on the Discovery Channel in the UK on 4 October 2013, and in the US on 11 November 2013.
In 2014, two further episodes were aired in the UK under the title Wild Weekends. The first of these was the 2011 special of Man vs. Wild featuring Jake Gyllenhaal, and the second was the Running Wild episode featuring Ben Stiller.
He presented The Island with Bear Grylls, first shown on Channel 4 on 5 May 2014. An American version of the show was also made and it premiered on 25 May 2015 on NBC.
In this adventure TV series from NBC, which premiered on 28 July 2014, Grylls takes celebrities on a two-day trip in the wilderness. The celebrities who took part in Season 1 are Zac Efron, Ben Stiller, Tamron Hall, Deion Sanders, Channing Tatum, and Tom Arnold. Celebrities who took part in Season 2 were Kate Winslet, Kate Hudson, Drew Brees, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed Helms, Michelle Rodriguez, James Marsden, Michael B. Jordan, and President Barack Obama.
In August 2015, Grylls left his young son, Jesse, on Saint Tudwal’s Island along the North Wales coast, as the tide approached, leaving him to be rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as part of their weekly practice missions. Jesse was unharmed, though the RNLI later criticised him for the stunt, saying its crew “had not appreciated” that a child would be involved.
Grylls also wrote the Mission Survival 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, Mission Survival: Tracks of the Tiger and Mission Survival: Claws of the Crocodile. He has written two thriller novels based around his character Will Jaeger; Ghost Flight released in 2015 and Burning Angels in 2016.
In 2015, he began presenting the six-part ITV series Bear Grylls: Mission Survive which features eight celebrities on a twelve-day survival mission. The series began airing on 20 February 2015. Mission Survive returned for a second series in 2016.
In summer 2015, China’s Dragon TV ordered a Grylls-fronted adventure series titled Survivor Games (Chinese: 跟着贝尔去冒险). The series featured Grylls and eight Chinese celebrities and premiered on Dragon TV on 16 October 2015.
On 9 April 2015, The Scout Association announced that Grylls would continue as Chief Scout until 2018. Grylls wrote, “I am so proud that the largest youth movement on the planet has asked me to continue in my role as UK Chief Scout.”
On 5 June 2015, Grylls, in an interview with The Telegraph, praised the challenge of being Britain’s youngest Chief Scout, saying “Scouting humbles me every day”.
In 2016, he presented a CITV series called Bear Grylls Survival School. Filming started in August 2015. The series began airing on 10 January 2016. A second series was scheduled to begin on 7 January 2017.
Grylls said he spoke “from the heart” in backing “Remain” in the 2016 referendum. “At such a time for the UK to retreat, run and cut ourselves loose from Europe, when there are so many challenges on our doorstep, to me just doesn’t feel either courageous or kind,” he said. “Europe has many flaws, but I also believe the way to help resolve many of those tough issues is from within… I have never been a good quitter and I am so proud of the UK and our values: tolerance, kindness, respect, courage and resilience. This is why I want us to stay together and Remain in Europe.” In January 2020, he announced that he had asserted his right to Irish citizenship and had obtained an Irish passport.
In 2018, ITV began airing a new series similar to the USA series “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” called “Bear’s Mission with…”. This show focuses on one British celebrity taking an overnight adventure with Bear each episode. The series premiered on ITV on early 2018.
On 16 November 2018, The World Organization of the Scout Movement announced the appointment of Bear Grylls as its first Chief Ambassador. Upon his appointment, he said “I’m very proud and humbled to take on this new role as Chief Ambassador of World Scouting and continue to promote the great work Scouting is doing across the globe. Scouting is a worldwide force for good that unites young people with positive values and an adventurous spirit. We aim to make a difference in our communities, help young people learn new skills, and be kind to all people.”
Bear Grylls Ventures and NM Capital purchased British Military Fitness in September 2018 and re-branded as “Be Military Fit with Bear Grylls”, to retain the existing acronym BMF. The company runs outdoor group fitness classes in 140 public parks and outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom. The classes are led by former or serving members of the British Armed Forces with recognised fitness training qualifications. It is Europe’s largest outdoor fitness company.
In 2019, Grylls published a Christian devotional titled Soul Fuel.
In August 2019, Bear Grylls appeared with Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in a special episode shot in the India’s Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand. The episode was showcased in more than 180 countries across the world on the Discovery, Inc. network.
Grylls was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to young people, the media and charity.
Grylls presented the revival of the Eco-Challenge series, which is titled World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji. It involved teams from around the world competing in an adventure race, which took place in Fiji. The series premiered on Amazon Prime Video on 14 August 2020.
Currently, Bear Grylls is 48 years, 5 months and 26 days old. Bear Grylls will celebrate 49th birthday on a Wednesday 7th of June 2023.
Find out about Bear Grylls birthday activities in timeline view here.