Grant Imahara Robots You Never Realized Were In Movies

On Monday, July 13th, 2020, longtime MythBusters co-host and overall nerd delight factory Grant Imahara passed away at 49 years old after suffering a severe brain aneurysm. Over the course of 208 episodes, Imahara brought his professional expertise as an animatronics engineer, as well as undeniable, earnest, joyful enthusiasm, to audiences around the world. His geek niche celebrity brought other opportunities his way as well: he appeared in cult hits like The Guild and Star Trek Continues, made a cameo in Sharknado 3, and hosted Netflix's White Rabbit Project.

Even before he started charming viewers in front of the camera, Imahara was working to spark imaginations behind the scenes. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, he went to work for LucasFilm's prestigious visual effects studio, Industrial Light and Magic. He would stay with the company for nine years, according to the Hollywood Reporter, and work on some of the most iconic effects pieces of the last three decades.

Grant Imahara had an incredible resume

Per his iMDB page, Imahara's first credited big screen job at the company was on 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park, where he worked as a model maker with the miniatures unit. Two years later, he was living the fanboy dream after landing a gig on Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, helping to modernize the R2-D2 robots. Thanks to his work on set, Imahara wound up in the mockumentary R2-D2: Behind the Dome, and later ended up as the de facto C-3PO stand-in for live events, commercials, and tv appearances, according to Wired.

Imahara's next big job was on a movie that David Mamet would later call one of the only four perfect motion pictures ever made: Galaxy Quest, where Grant worked as the chief model maker, helping to create animatronics for the film's pantheon of aliens. He'd go on to lend a hand in building monsters and robots for both Matrix sequels, Attack of the Clones, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, and Terminator 3. From 2010 to 2011, he was credited as a member of the special effects department for The Late Late Show after creating Craig Ferguson's robot sidekick, Geoff Peterson.