Just so this doesn’t get out of control, I think this reader is exactly right:
I was just a casual watcher of Steve Irwin, but IMO the big difference was that with the Croc Hunter there was never any doubt that he knew that what he was doing was incredibly dangerous; if I recall, with Grizzly Man he didn’t think the bears were all that dangerous, that you could some how “commune” with them, that if you were nice to bears, they would be nice to you. Steve always let us know that he was dealing with very dangerous animals and that it had taken him years to gain the knowledge to do that with any degree of safety, I don’t get that impression from “Grizzly Man”. Just my thoughts.
Me: The comparison to Grizzly Man was probably overwrought. But, my problem with Irwin has always revolved around his ego (and the technical “cheats” in how the show was produced). The Grizzly Man guy was a true nutjob. Irwin is something different. I could never forgive Irwin for that outrageous stunt with his infant child — a stunt he never really apologized for. I understand that people who chase dangerous animals must have enormous egos, but his ego came to be the driving force of his show. But I think he was a decent man who made a real contribution in a cause he believed in dearly.