Mike Rowe of 'Dirty Jobs' Was Once a Professional Opera Singer

Mike Rowe has long been beloved for his job as a television host on the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs, followed by Somebody's Gotta Do It on CNN. Watching him get up close and dirty alongside some of the most interesting and difficult jobs out there is endlessly fascinating and entertaining for viewers.

Over the years, Rowe has become known as one of the best reality show hosts, even winning the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Reality Show Host in 2011. He's hosted a ton of shows including The Most for The History Channel, Evening Magazine on KPIX-TV in San Francisco and Worst Case Scenarios for TBS. 

Here are some things you might have not known about the beloved TV host

1. He has a Net Worth of $30 million

$30 million makes sense if you take into account Rowe's many successful years as a TV host. He has also appeared on various TV shows as an actor including American Dad! and Last Man Standing. 

2. He's not very handy 

In an interview with GuidePosts, he explained that in his early life growing up in Baltimore, Maryland he was inspired by how good his grandfather was at building things, but unfortunately, it wasn't as easy for him.

"I took the shop class offered in school, and applied myself. But the bookshelf I made turned out lopsided, the metal box I welded didn't close tightly. My grandfather's "mechanical gene" seemed to have skipped me, and my shortcomings made me grow insecure and resentful."

3. He's an Eagle Scout

In 1979, Rowe became an Eagle Scout in Baltimore's Troop 16. He's said that his time completing his service project with the Maryland School for the Blind contributed to his interest in narrating. His parents, John and Peggy Rowe, were both schoolteachers though so that probably also helped. The Boy Scouts of America even gave Rowe the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 2012. 

4. Rowe had a serious accident filming the first season of Dirty Jobs 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rowe said that over the years he's gotten a little banged up. And there was one very serious incident with a furnace in season 1 of the television show.

"I've gotten stitched up three or four times. I've broken a rib, I've broken a toe, I've lost three fingernails. I've fused my contacts to my eyes with a blast furnace in Season One. Pulling pieces of plastic out of your eyes, bad deal. It was with a blacksmith. We were out in the field, the little thing looks like a toaster oven, but it's actually a portable furnace. The shot I wanted was my eyes to the camera, I flick the switch, and you see the flames pop up. The gas accumulates, so the flames shot out, wrapped around my head and burned my eyebrows off."

5. One time he literally agreed to get bit by sharks

On his website, Rowe recollects the time that he went swimming with sharks and was terrified for his life. 

"When I say that we were completely surrounded by dozens of ravenous sharks, I am not exaggerating. When I say that we were bitten, rammed, and slammed into the sandy bottom time and time again, I'm not engaging in hyperbole. And when I tell you that I was profoundly frightened for my life, I am not even kidding a little."

6. He was supposed to be the on-screen host of Deadliest Catch

Deadliest Catch had originally tapped Rowe to narrate the show on-screen as they followed crab fishing in the Bering Sea. But when Dirty Jobs was also picked up by the Discovery Channel, the network told him he needed to choose which show he'd have his face on. It didn't feel like the best look to talk about fishermen dying in the ocean and then making jokes on Dirty Jobs. So in the end, he became an off-screen narrator for Deadliest Catch as well as multiple other Discovery Channel shows — American Chopper, American Hot Rod, How the Universe Works, Wild Pacific and Ghost Lab as well as Ghost Hunters on Syfy. 

7. He went to Towson University 

After graduating from high school at Overlea High School, Rowe studied at Essex Community College before he made his way to Towson University where he got a degree in communication studies.

8. He was an opera singer 

Rowe was singing professionally with the Baltimore Opera when he landed the job as a host on QVC as a bet with a friend. He claims that over the years QVC fired him three or four times for criticizing products or callers while on the air. 

9. He keeps his personal life very private

The TV host is based in San Francisco, California, and has never married over the years. Though he likes to keep his personal life private, he was romantically linked to Danielle Burgio.

This article was originally published in July of 2020.

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