Grant Imahara, a mechanical engineer who co-hosted Mythbusters and worked on Hollywood’s technical effects has died at age 49 from a sudden brain aneurysm.
His passing was announced by friends, family and the Mythbusters team on Monday, July 13, 2020. Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage expressed a loss for words while celebrating his abilities as an engineer and “a generous, easygoing and gentle person.”
Born on October 23, 1970, Imahara grew up in California and pursued an electrical engineering degree before falling in love with screenwriting. He kept movies in his mind as he continued to apply his engineering skills with the USC School of Cinematic Arts. This was also when he joined THX, a Lucasfilm Division and became involved with movies such as Star Wars, Terminator 3, The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions and Van Helsing.
Co-host Kari Byron also tweeted a set picture with Grant Imahara, after the Mythbusters team expanded during Season three. Imahara, Byron and Tori Belleci gradually became series regulars and introduced more myths based on Hollywood and video games. Imahara’s experience as a mechanical engineer was used to build contraptions for vehicles and weapons, which would be used with superhuman physics to mimic fiction.
The series had continued featuring Imahara until it aired a final episode in 2018.
Imahara had also joined Lucasfilm as an engineer, later working as a chief animatronic enginner for George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Macic (ILM). Imahara helped develop the fabled R2D2 droid for the Star Wars prequels, and operated the character for almost all of his live action scenes. He also was credited for adding modern mechanics into the older R2 units, with many of his ideas updating them for use in future films.
According to WIRED, Imahara also put on the C-3PO suit for various Star Wars events. He also contributed to The Lost World: Jurassic Park with their live action animatronic dinosaurs and other visual effects.
But Grant Imahara’s departure from Mythbusters was only the beginning for a new series in 2016. He reunited with Byron and Belleci for the White Rabbit Project on Netflix, which explored deeper Hollywood myths based on superpowered tech, weapons and stunts.
According to video game and animation voice actor Matthew Mercer, Grant Imahara was a close friend who made “charity and community work as a priority” while using his projects to promote the cool parts of science and technology. He has also been an avid board game RPG fan and shared many adventures with Mercer.
“There are rare, RARE people in this world that are made of pure love, light, and kindness. @grantimahara is one of the brightest,” Mercer first tweeted in a thread.
“Not an ounce of malice within that soul. Intelligence and heart that eclipse so much shadow. His years of friendship are precious to so many,” he added.
Rest in Peace, Grant Imahara.