Mike Rowe Reveals His Grandfather Was Early Inspiration for ‘Dirty Jobs’

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

There is nothing better than a wholesome relationship with your grandparents. And for Dirty Jobs star Mike Rowe, he has a lot to thank his grandfather for.

Whether we recognize it or not, our grandparents are one of the most valuable resources we have. They have so many stories to tell and so many life experiences that we can learn from. That goes especially so for Mike Rowe. Thanks to his beloved grandfather, Rowe developed a lifelong passion for trade jobs. Not only that, but he understands more of who he is and where he comes from.

Mike Rowe is a widely recognized actor thanks to his work on the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs. The show follows in the footsteps of America’s most under-appreciated workers. Rowe goes from one dirty job to the next, showcasing the life and daily duties that our essential workers are tasked with doing to keep the country running smoothly. You may have also seen Rowe in the CNN series, Somebody’s Gotta Do It.

Rowe began starring on Dirty Jobs back in 2005, so we have known for a while that he is a huge proponent of trades jobs. But where did that passion develop? You can thank his family for that. Both his parents were school teachers who taught him the importance of hard work.

But his respect for hard work really came into focus thanks to his grandfather who was a skilled tradesman in Baltimore County, Maryland. The Dirty Jobs star explained as much in an appearance on Fox Business’ The Pursuit! with John Rich.

“He could take your watch apart, put it together blindfolded,” Rowe explained. “Could build a house without a blueprint. He was that guy… He built the church I grew up in, my Pop did.”

Mike Rowe Influenced by His Grandfather in ‘Every Way Imaginable’

We know that a lot of you Outsiders are big fans of Mike Rowe. We are too. One of the big reasons why is because he is such a grounded individual. He told Philanthropy Round Table back in 2017 that his grandfather is a big reason why.

“In every way imaginable,” he responded. “My grandfather could build a house without a blueprint. He only went to school through seven grade, but he became a master tradesman by the time he was 30. My hope was to follow in his footsteps. But, alas the ‘handy’ gene is recessive, and I didn’t get the natural ability he was blessed with.”

Sure, Rowe may not be quite as handy as his grandpa. But it’s safe to say that through his work on Dirty Jobs he has helped teach millions of people about the importance of trade work. And that, too, can be credited to his grandpa.

“Years later, when Pop was 90, my mother called me to say how nice it would be if my grandfather could turn on the television and ‘see me doing something that looked like work.’ Ultimately, ‘Dirty Jobs’ came about as a tribute to him.”