Raise your hand if your kid’s name is Bear. Nobody? Really? Weird. Well, today we’re celebrating the birthday of a guy named Bear. Actually, his real name is Edward Michael Grylls, but that’s a lot less fun to say. So, how’d he get that ridiculous nickname? You might think it has something to do with his T.V. show Man vs. Wild, but the truth is that his sister gave him the name when he was just a week old because he slept and growled a lot. It stuck.
It’s a good thing it did, too, because the name Bear easily fits the personality of a man who is part adventurer, writer, motivational speaker, and T.V. presenter. Man vs. Wild — which is probably how he’s most well known — is a show about how to survive in inhospitable conditions. Grylls is dropped off in a remote area and has to figure out how to build and fire and find his dinner. It’s kind of like camping with your kids. Just kidding — we doubt Grylls comes prepared with 12 stuffed animals and a plastic bag filled with Cheetos.
As it turns out, Grylls isn’t just a champion in the wilderness. In fact, he’s a pretty cool guy, and a great role model for your kids. Born on June 6, 1974, Grylls grew up in Donaghadee, North Ireland. At the age of 8, he became a cub scout — he probably fit right in, seeing as his own name and the name of the group are in theme with each other — and, years later, was appointed the youngest-ever Chief Scout at the age of 35.
Grylls attended one of the Eaton House schools and then went on to study at Eton College, where he helped start the first mountaineering club. After school, he considered joining the Indian Army — clearly this man has no time for being cowardly — but instead hiked the Himalayan mountains in Sikkim. Naturally. That’s what everyone does after college, right?
So, how’d this guy named Bear make it from the Himalayan mountains to television? Easy — he appeared in an ad for deodorant, which featured his ascent of Mt. Everest. Isn’t that how everyone does it?
And here’s something that’ll please a whole heck of a lot of parents out there: Bear has done a series of anti-drug public service announcements. Go Bear! And maybe you’ve seen him on shows such as Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey.
It’s actually a bit exhausting to talk about every single one of Gryll’s accomplishments. The man is crazy good at everything, it seems. He speaks three languages — English, Spanish, and French — and he has written two books and numerous survival guides, including one on running through fire. Maybe that’s something you shouldn’t teach your kids. In 2008, he climbed one of the most secluded peaks in Antarctica to raise funds for charity. He’s also the vice president of the JoLt Trust, which helps disabled and abused kids travel the world through a series of challenging expeditions. Jeez, Bear. Are you going to save the world next?