Bear Grylls Biography

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Birth Name: Bear Grylls

Born June 7, 1974 on the Isle of Wight in England, Edward Michael "Bear" Grylls was the son of Sir Michael and Lady Sarah Grylls and grew up passionately devoted to physical pursuits and adventuring. Although he was born into a powerful, aristocratic family and given many educational and cultural advantages, Grylls was always drawn to the more primal test of man against the elements and became an expert in such sports as mountaineering, sailing, martial arts and skydiving. His greatest dream, shared by his father, was to climb Mount Everest. After serving in the British Special Forces, Grylls broke his back and came close to being paralyzed for life in a horrific free-fall parachuting accident in Africa, but his adventurous spirit pushed him to fight to recover, and he went on to become one of the all-time youngest climbers to reach the peak of Mount Everest. His success, coupled with his telegenic charisma, brought him to the attention of advertisers, who began featuring him in their promotions as an example of a modern, masculine Renaissance man. Grylls wrote several best-selling books about his adventures, including The Kid Who Climbed Everest, Facing the Frozen Ocean and Born Survivor: Bear Grylls.

With a string of successful television appearances, Grylls landed his own series, "Man vs. Wild" (Discovery Channel, 2006-2011), which dropped him into various natural environments and forced him to survive and escape on his own. Although the show sparked some memorable pop cultural moments, including a long-running meme based on an episode where he drank his own urine, the Emmy-nominated "Man vs. Wild" came under considerable criticism for staging certain elements it presented as real and for using movie magic to enhance the drama. Despite the criticism, Grylls defended the series and certainly proved himself an accomplished real-life adventurer whose multiple high-profile treks included climbing peaks in Antarctica (where he broke his shoulder), crossing the Arctic Ocean and traversing the Northwest Passage. He went on to host the series "Worst-Case Scenario" (Discovery Channel, 2010) and "Bear Grylls: Wild Weekends" (Channel 4, 2011- ) and earned the impressive honor of being named the U.K.'s youngest-ever Chief Scout. Heavily active in charity events, Grylls also carved out a second career as a motivational speaker and endorsed his own line of sporting goods and survival equipment. Audiences were promised another high-profile turn with Grylls when it was announced he would be hosting an upcoming reality show, "Get Out Alive" (NBC, 2013- ).

By Jonathan Riggs