Grant Imahara, the engineer host of Discovery’s science show ‘MythBusters’ and of Netflix’s ‘White Rabbit Project’ died from a brain aneurysm at 49.
Grant Imahara, the engineer host and robotics wizard of Discovery Channel’s science show “MythBusters” and of Netflix’s “White Rabbit Project,” has died at 49.
“We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Grant,” a Discovery Channel statement confirming his death said. “He was an important part of our Discovery family and a really wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Discovery and Science Channel Thursday announced weekend program tributes to 2013 BattleBots champ Imahara that feature his appearance in “Killer Robots: Robo Games 2011” and his favorite “MythBusters” moments, including testing whether armor made of folded paper can withstand an attack and whether a shower curtain could be turned into a parachute.
On Friday, Discovery will air a five-hour block, starting with “Killer Robots” at 8 a.m. EDT/PDT, followed by four “MythBusters” episodes: “Mailbag Special,” “Motorcycle Water Ski,” “Paper Armor” and “Blue Ice.”
“Mythbusters” hosts (L-R) Grant Imahara, Kari Byron and Tori Belluci in 2011. (Photo: Martin E. Klimek, for USA TODAY)
Saturday’s six-hour Science Channel presentation starts at 3 EDT/PDT with “Killer Robots,” followed again by four “MythBusters” outings: “Shooting Fish in a Barrel,” “Dog Myths,” “Paper Armor” and “Motorcycle Water Ski.” “White Rabbit Project: May G Force Be With You” concludes the tribute at 8 EDT/PDT.
“MythBusters” host Adam Savage tweeted that he was “at a loss. No words” after hearing the news.
“I’ve been part of two big families with Grant Imahara over the last 22 years,” Savage wrote. “Grant was a truly brilliant engineer, artist and performer, but also just such a generous, easygoing, and gentle PERSON. Working with Grant was so much fun. I’ll miss my friend.”
Los Angeles native Imahara graduated with an electrical engineering degree from the University of Southern California and worked for Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic for nine years, becoming chief model maker specializing in animatronics, Imahara helped to build the updated version of R2-D2 robot for the “Star Wars” prequels (and was one of only a handful of operators). He created models for films such as “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”
Imahara had another claim to iconic-character fame with the Energizer Bunny. He developed a custom circuit to cycle the bunny’s arm beats and ears at a constant rate. Imahara was ultimately responsible for the electronics installation and radio programming for a generation of the battery-plugging bunnies, even serving as the bunny’s driver and crew supervisor on numerous commercials.
In 2010, he created the skeleton robot sidekick Geoff Petersen for “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” Imahara offered to take on the construction task in return for 100,000 Twitter followers from host Ferguson, who urged his “rattly cyborgs” on until the goal was met.
Grant Imahara attends the “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” premiere at iPic Theaters Westwood on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Paul A. Hebert, Invision/AP)
Imahara joined the 2005 third season of “MythBusters,” working on the “Build Team” with Kari Byron and Tory Belleci. The trio debunked urban myths with science until 2014, and reunited in 2016 for one season of Netflix’s “White Rabbit Project,” where they ranked history’s greatest inventions and heists.
“Somedays I wish I had a time machine,” Byron tweeted Monday, showing a picture with Imahara with Belleci.
“I just cannot believe it. I don’t even know what to say. My heart is broken. Goodbye buddy,” Bellici tweeted on Monday.
Bellici said in an Instagram post Tuesday that it “felt like I lost a brother.”
“This world won’t be the same with you gone. You were an inspiration to me & to so many others,” he wrote.
Imahara starred in 11 episodes of the fan-created web series “Star Trek Continues,” playing USS Enterprise officer Hikaru Sulu. In 2015’s comedy horror film “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” Imahara appeared as Agent Lodge.
He’s the author of the 2003 book, “Kickin’ Bot: An Illustrated Guide to Building Combat Robots.” Imahara’s own machine, Deadblow, was armed with a CO2-powered pickaxe lethal enough to become BattleBots champion.
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