Herbert Gris was born in Orleans, France, in 1590, and became a guard in the service of Cardinal Richelieu. He died his First Death in 1628, when he was killed by a Musketeer. He revived as an Immortal, and was found by Peter Gaicus, who taught him about his Immortality. Gris was a man of strong beliefs. When he saw a cause as right, he quickly took it as his own. He had mostly bad luck, however, and was usually on the losing side.
Gris had a strong will, and was very arrogant. Soon, he became a rich man. In 1818, he lived in France, a powerful industrialist who had opened up the very first English-style textile mill in Paris in May of that year, while simultaneously attempting to placate both the Bonapartists as well as the French Liberals.
He "died" at sea, and began life again as "Henry Gattle," later a Colonel in the Confederate Army. During the Battle of Gettysburg at Little Round Top on July 2, 1863, Gris publicly died once more, forcing him to begin anew. In 1916, he lived in England under the alias "Benjamin Tyson." He was a publisher, and soon became the only one in all of Sussex -- after he set fire to the building of his biggest rival, the Brighton Morning Herald.
In the twentieth century, Gris had become a wealthy industrialist once more, this time living in New York City. Sympathetic to the aims of Nazi Germany, he used his financial resources to help arm and mold the Third Reich, and in 1938, became an SS colonel in the German military, this time under the alias "Heinrich Greich."After Nazi Germany lost the war, however, Gris returned to the U.S. In 1953, he was known as "Harold Grimes," and was an investment banker. When an Immortal came to challenge him, it was Victor Markov, who was known as Russia's best swordsman. To the surprise of his watcher, Gris took The Game seriously. He was in good form, and defeated Markov. When Gris took Markov's head, the Quickening caused a breakdown of the Chicago L (local elevated railroad) for several hours.
In 1994, Gris had become CEO of Amalgamated Industries (under the alias "Graydon Hammer"), and thus a well-known millionaire. In 1995, Christine Salzer used Gris's file to convince an publisher of her story about Immortals being real. She showed him photographs of Gris taken across six different lifetimes; he was always recognizable by a prominent scar he had across his cheek, beneath his right eye.
- A mistake exists within the Watcher's Chronicles DVD supplements for the third-season episode "Finale: Part II," wherein Herbert Gris's entry is erroneously labeled "Graydon Hammer" on the access-screen, but the entire entry proper reflects his "true," original French birth-name, Herbert Gris. Possibly the "Graydon Hammer" link was made to account for his "current" alias at the time of the episode's events in 1995, which was that of Graydon Hammer, NYC industrialist.
- In his Watcher file, Gris is called a "colonel" in the German army, but there was no rank with that actual name in the SS. The equivalent rank was "Standartenführer."