Robotics engineer and TV host Grant Imahara has died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 49.
Imahara worked for LucasFilms as the lead character model builder for the Star Wars prequels. Some of his other movies projects included “The Matrix” sequels, “Artificial Intelligence”, and “Galaxy Quest”.
When LucasFilms started to phase out character model making in favor of more CGI, he joined the cast of Discovery Channel’s popular “MythBusters” science and technology show until 2014. He was referred to as the show’s “Human Guinea Pig” as he often took part in dangerous experiments and stunts.
Imahara and his “MythBuster” co-hosts were regular guests of “The Late Late Show” on CBS during the years that Craig Ferguson hosted the nightly talk show.
Ferguson kept teasing the idea of wanting to have an actual robot sidekick as his co-host in the late night talk show tradition of Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson, and Andy Richter with Conan O’ Brien. Imahara told him if he was able to get 100,000 Twitter followers he would build a talking robot for him. He ended up getting well over 100,000 followers with fans excited and curious to see how everything would come about.
In April 2010, Geoff Peterson “The Robot Skeleton” made his debut on “The Late Late Show” as the sidekick of Ferguson true to form as promised. The character was originally voice by Ferguson himself with a few selected pre-recorded words and sentences. Ferguson and Imahara thought the concept and character had far more potential to develop but it was an immediate hit with fans.
In 2011, comedian and voice actor Josh Robert Thompson took over as Peterson’s voice. He was able to fully interact with Ferguson each night by using a backstage microphone. Many of their segments were ad-libbed causing Ferguson to burst out into uncontrollable laughter.
Imahara continued to be a guest at various times up until Ferguson left as host in 2014. Peterson would call Imahara “Daddy” in recognition of him as his creator. Ferguson was such a fan of Imahara, and the Peterson character, he took the robot home with him as a set souvenir as the stage was revamped for James Corden’s new format in 2015.