Grant Imahara has died. The television personality — who is best known as the host of MythBusters –– died suddenly at age 49 due to a brain aneurysm, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. While MythBusters made Imahara a household name, he was also an accomplished electrical engineer and roboticist who worked for Lucasfilm’s THX and Industrial Light and Magic divisions before stepping in front of the camera. Imahara also served as the host of the Netflix series White Rabbit Project.
On Monday, Discovery confirmed the news of Imahara’s death in a statement.
“We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Grant. He was an important part of our Discovery family and a really wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Imahara is survived by his fiancee Jennifer Newman, who is a costume designer. The couple had dated for years before getting engaged in 2016.
Before ‘MythBusters,’ Imahara Was Accomplished Behind The Scenes
Imahara grew up in Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California. At school, he was forced to choose electrical engineering over his passion for screenwriting, but was able to pursue both when he was hired by the Lucasfilm-associated THX labs following his graduation.
Imahara would spend the next nine years working for Lucasfilm, primarily in the THX and Industrial Light and Magic divisions. During his time working in Industrial Light and Magic, he would bring his animatronics expertise to films such as the Star Wars prequels, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Galaxy Quest, XXX: State of the Union, Van Helsing, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
In 2005, Imahara would make his first appearance on MythBusters, joining the show in its third season following an invitation from the show’s co-host, Jamie Hyneman. He replaced departing castmember Scottie Chapman as the third member of the show’s Build Team. His role often involved operating any electronics necessary for testing the myths, as well as building robots that are sometimes required. Imahara remained with the series until 2014, when he and his fellow Team Build members Kari Byron and Tory Belleci left the show.
Imahara Remained Involved In Science After Leaving ‘MythBusters’
Imahara remained in the public eye after his departure from MythBusters, most notably joining Netflix’s White Rabbit Project as a host in 2016. The show saw him reunite with Byron and Belleci as they followed the formula of their previous show in investigating outlandish and bizarre events and claims by using carefully thought out experiments and tests. Netflix released all 10 episodes of Season 1 in December 2016, but did not renew the show for a second season.
Following the end of White Rabbit Project, Imahara took a consulting role with Walt Disney Imagineering in 2017. While his work at the time was kept secret, in 2018 he was revealed as an author on the group’s research paper “Stickman: Towards a Human Scale Acrobatic Robot,” released on May 21, 2018. The research sought to develop a robot that was able to conduct somersaulting stunts through the use of a gravity-driven pendulum. This research would be used in the Stuntronics that operate in Disney theme parks across the world.