Birth Name: Edward Michael Grylls
Place of Birth: Westminster, London, England, U.K.
Date of Birth: 7 June, 1974
Ethnicity: English, some Irish, Northern Irish, and Cornish, 1/32 Jewish [Sephardi, Ashkenazi], distant Scottish and Welsh
Bear Grylls is a British adventurer, writer, television presenter, and businessperson. He was the host of the show Man vs. Wild from 2006 to 2011, and has headlined other series.
Bear is the son of Sally (Ford) and Sir Michael Grylls (William Michael John Grylls). His father was born in Folkestone, Kent, and was a Conservative politician, who was a Member of Parliament, from 18 June, 1970 to 8 April, 1997. The Grylls family can be traced to 17th century Cornwall. Bear is married to Shara Cannings Knight, with whom he has three children.
Bear was raised in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, and then Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight.
He is a practicing Anglican.
Bear’s paternal grandfather Brig. William Edward Harvey Grylls OBE (the son of Maj. William Edward John Grylls and Helen Aline Combe). Bear’s grandfather William, of Winterbourne Zelston House, Blandford, Dorset, was a Brigadier in the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars. Bear’s great-grandfather William was born in West Bengal, India, the son of William Richard Grylls, who was born in Saltash, Cornwall, and of Ada Jane Atwood. Bear’s great-grandmother Helen was the daughter of Maj. Gen. Boyce Albert Combe and Helen Edith Barrow. Bear’s great-great-grandmother Helen’s father, Bear’s great-great-great-grandfather Maj. Gen. Lousada Barrow, was Jewish (of both Sephardi and Ashkenazi descent, with roots in Slovakia, Austria, the Netherlands, and Italy, among other countries). Lousada was Chief Commissioner of Oudh in then-British India for two terms. Through this line, Bear is a sixth cousin, once removed, of filmmaker and musician Christopher Guest, as Bear’s six times great-grandparents, Aron Benedictus Goldsmid Cassel Segal and Catherina Abraham de Vries-Rofe, who were Dutch Jews, were also Christopher’s paternal five times great-grandparents.
Bear’s paternal grandmother was Rachel Elizabeth Knapp (the daughter of Brig. Gen. Kempster Kenmure Knapp and Lilian Wingate Cowan). Kempster was the son of The Rev. John Harvey Knapp and Marianna Stabb.
Bear’s maternal grandfather was Neville Ford (Neville Montague Ford, the son of The Rev. Lionel Ford, Lionel George Bridges Justice Ford, and of Mary Catherine Talbot). Neville was born in Repton Derbyshire, England, and was a cricketer, who played for Derbyshire, Oxford University, Middlesex and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), between 1926 and 1934. Bear’s great-grandfather The Rev. Lionel Ford was an Anglican priest, who was headmaster at two English independent schools, and then Dean of York. He was the son of William Augustus Ford, a first-class cricketer, and of Katherine Mary Justice.
On this line, Bear’s great-great-great-grandfather George Samuel Ford was a prominent bill discounter/money lender and solicitor, and Bear’s four times great-grandfather was inventor and locksmith Joseph Bramah. Bear is a great-great-nephew of cricketer and sports writer William Justice Ford, who was Headmaster of Nelson College, from 1886 to 1888; first-class cricketer Augustus Ford; artist and illustrator Henry Justice Ford; and cricketer Francis Ford; and a great-great-great-nephew of lawyer and judge Theodore Ford, Chief Justice for the Straits Settlements; Horace A. Ford, who is considered to have been one of the greatest target archers of all time; and first-class cricketer and clergyman George Ford.
Bear’s great-grandmother Mary Catherine Talbot was the daughter of Edward Stuart Talbot, an Anglican bishop, and the first Warden of Keble College; and of Lavinia Talbot (born Lavinia Lyttelton), a promoter of women’s education. Bear’s great-great-grandfather Edward was the son of the Hon. John Chetwynd-Talbot, and the grandson of politician Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 2nd Earl Talbot and soldier and politician James Stuart-Wortley, 1st Baron Wharncliffe, whose own grandfather, Bear’s six times great-grandfather, was Edinburgh-born, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, who was Prime Minister of Great Britain, from 26 May, 1762 to 8 April, 1763. Bear’s great-great-grandmother Lavinia was the daughter of George Lyttelton, 4th Baron Lyttelton, an aristocrat and Conservative politician, and of Mary Glynne. George was the son of Whig politician, William Lyttelton, 3rd Baron Lyttelton, and of Sarah Lyttelton, Baroness Lyttelton (born Sarah Spencer). Sarah’s parents, Bear’s great-great-great-great-great-grandparents George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer, a Whig politician, and Lavinia Spencer, Countess Spencer, an illustrator, were also the paternal great-great-great-grandparents of Diana, Princess of Wales, and maternal five times great-grandparents of comedian and actress Miranda Hart, making Bear a fourth cousin, twice removed, of Princess Diana, and a sixth cousin of Miranda.
On this line, Bear is a great-nephew of Edward Ford, a courtier in the Royal Household of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, and a great-great-nephew of Anglican priest Revd Edward Keble Talbot, and Rt Revd Neville Talbot, the Bishop of Pretoria in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
Bear’s maternal grandmother was Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher (born Patricia Smiles, the daughter of Lieut. Col. Sir Walter Dorling Smiles and Margaret “Maggie” Heighway). Patricia was born in Donaghadee, County Down, Ulster, Ireland. She was a politician for the Ulster Unionist Party, and was a Member of Parliament for North Down, from 15 April, 1953 to 25 May, 1955, representing her father’s old riding. Bear’s great-grandfather Walter Smiles was born in Belfast, and was also a politician for the Ulster Unionist Party, who was a Member of Parliament, from 27 October, 1931 to 31 January, 1953. He was the son of William Holmes Smiles, who was director of Belfast Ropeworks, and of Lucy Dorling; and the grandson of Scottish author and government reformer Samuel Smiles and horse racing administrator Henry Dorling. Bear’s great-grandfather Walter died in 1953 in the sinking of MV Princess Victoria, off Larne Lough.
Bear’s grandmother Patricia re-married to Nigel Fisher, a Conservative Party politician.