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Grell is initially portrayed as Madame Red's worthless butler. As a butler,he has the appearance of a young man with brown hair and big round glasses, but in his true Grim Reaper form he has long red hair, shark teeth and carries a chainsaw, his death scythe, which uses to reap souls.
His initial job- Madame Red's butler- was just a disguise: the seemingly inept butler and his mistress are, when teamed up, Jack the Ripper, the serial killer who terrorized London in 1800. Madame Red was the original Jack the Ripper (she killed prostitutes because they frequently asked her, a doctor, for abortions, while the thing she wanted the most in the world was having a child but couldn't bear one as her womb was removed after an accident), but when Grell saw her 'work', he teamed up with her, feeling sympathy for Madame Red because, like him, she loves the color red (as her nickname suggests) and wanted a child. Grell often refers to himself as a female, and his infatuation with Sebastian is not a secret: often in both the anime and the manga he expresses his feelings towards the demon butler, much to the latter's disgust.