Inside the chilling ‘Mythbusters curse’
Another celebrity death this week has sent shockwaves through Hollywood and beyond, with former Mythbusters host Grant Imahara sadly passing away on Monday.
It is understood Imahara, 49, died suddenly following a brain aneurysm.
It's not the only tragedy to afflict the Mythbusters community, with the Discovery Channel series that tests the validity of popular myths and legends marked by tragedy and dotted with scandal over the years.
The so-called 'Mythbusters curse' mirrors that of another series making headlines this week.
On the same day of Imahara passing, Glee star Naya Rivera's body was found in Lake Piru, confirming the actor had drowned during a day out on the water with her son.
Many have linked the tragedy to the 'Glee curse', following years of shocking crew deaths and allegations against its young cast.
It seems it's not the only cursed TV show, with Mythbusters also following a dark timeline.
Tributes are flowing for former Mythbusters host Imahara, who died at the age of just 49.
The sad news was confirmed by a Discovery Channel representative in a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter yesterday.
"We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Grant," the statement read.
"He was an important part of our Discovery family and a really wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
Mr Imahara co-hosted more than 200 episodes of the incredibly popular science program between 2005 and 2014.
The electrical engineer and roboticist also starred in the Netflix series White Rabbit Project.
He is survived by his long-term partner, costume designer Jennifer Newman, who posted a heartbreaking tribute to Imahara on social media along with a series of photos of the happy couple.
"I haven't found the words. I don't know if I'll be able to. I lost a part of my heart and soul today," Ms Newman shared on Twitter.
"He was so generous and kind, so endlessly sweet and so loved by his incredible friends. I feel so lucky to have known him, to have loved & been loved by him.
"I love you, honey."
Fellow Mythbusters hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci have also been rocked by their friend's passing, with Byron sharing a poignant photo of the trio on Twitter today with the caption: "Some days I wish I had a time machine".
Before landing his role in front of the camera, he worked behind the scenes on a string of hit films including The Matrix, Star Wars and Jurassic Park flicks.
Imahara's death is eerily close to the anniversary of another cast member's passing.
On August 27th, 2019, race car driver Jessi Combs was killed in a crash in the US while attempting to break her own land-speed record.
Combs, 36, was driving her jet-powered car through the Alvord Desert in Oregon when she lost control of the vehicle, Road and Track reported.
Her teammate and partner, Terry Madden, confirmed her death in an Instagram post.
"Unfortunately we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her," he wrote.
He described Combs as his "unicorn".
"I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her. She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know."
Combs appeared on 12 episodes of Mythbusters during Season 7 while regular cast member Kari Byron was on maternity leave.
She was named the "fastest woman on four wheels" after she set a record with a speed of 640km piloting her jet-powered North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, according to Road and Track.
Just days before her death, Combs had posted on Instagram describing her quest to beat her own record.
"It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire … those who are willing, are those who achieve great things. People say I'm crazy. I say thank you," she wrote, adding the hashtags #gottabreak512 #aimingfor619.
Erik Gates, a contributor to the show, died in 2009, aged 47.
Gates was working as a contractor on the roof of an office building when he fell through a skylight to his death.
An autopsy ruled that he died from blunt force chest injuries, with a coroner's investigation ruling the death an accident.
"He survived cancer, he jumps with parachutes, he base jumps. He's an active guy who was used to taking precautions. This was a freak accident that shouldn't have happened," Steve DeGennaro, Xirrus Inc.'s co-founder and chief financial officer told The Ventura County Star.
The episode Mini Myth Mayhem was dedicated to his memory.
Gates was featured on Mythbusters as "amateur rocket expert" for four episodes.
ADAM SAVAGE ALLEGATIONS
Earlier this month, the program made headlines after disturbing allegations against host Adam Savage emerged.
In a lawsuit filed in early July, Savage's younger sister Miranda Pacchiana, 51, claimed she was sexually assaulted by Savage.
She claimed her brother called himself the "raping blob" during the late 1970s, when she was between seven and 10 years old when the siblings lived in Sleepy Hollow, New York.
"Beginning in or about 1976 and continuing until approximately 1979, Adam Savage, would repeatedly rape Miranda Pacchiana and force oral sex upon her, and forced Miranda to perform oral sex on him, along with other forms of sexual abuse," says her lawsuit, filed in Westchester Supreme Court.
The suit says Savage, who was between nine and 12 years old at the time, would prevent Pacchiana from leaving the bed and anally rape her.
He allegedly nicknamed himself the "raping blob" while masking the abuse as a game, according to the complaint.
The 52-year-old special effects whiz is best known as the former co-host of Mythbusters.
Pacchiana is a social worker who blogged about losing her family after coming forward about the alleged sexual abuse.
"When I first disclosed to my family that my brother had abused me as a child, I thought my whole world would change," she wrote. "I assumed my family members would share my desire to examine what had gone wrong in our home and pursue a path toward healing together. I was sadly mistaken."
Pacchiana filed her lawsuit under the New York Child Victims Act, which opened a one-year look-back period for victims to bring claims that had already exceeded the statute of limitations. In May, the original deadline, which was set in August, was extended by five months due to coronavirus.
"The prolific abuse by Mr Savage as alleged in the Complaint has caused irreparable damage to my client that she will live with for the rest of her life," Pacchiana's lawyer Jordan Merson said in a statement. "Today is the first step in the direction of healing and justice."
Savage denied his sister's allegations in a statement through his lawyer Andrew Brettler.
"While I hope that my sister gets the help she needs to find peace, this needs to end. For many years, she has relentlessly and falsely attacked me and other members of my family to anyone who will listen," Savage said. "By spreading numerous untrue stories about us in pursuit of a financial bonanza, she has tortured our entire family and estranged herself from all of us. I will fight this groundless and offensive lawsuit and work to put this to rest once and for all."
Over the years, many of the program's experiments have gone slightly awry. Sometimes, things fail in more spectacular and newsworthy ways - landing the cast and crew in hot water.
On March 20, 2009, during filming of the myth "Knock Your Socks Off" the town of Esparto, California, was shaken a by a blast created by 230kg of ammonium nitrate, with unsuspecting residents left furious after their windows were smashed.
As it transpired, Chief Barry Burns of the Esparto Fire Department had made the decision not to notify anyone in town to avoid having a crowd of spectators at the unsafe site.
"MythBusters is supposed to be a really popular show. Everybody would have been out there. We would have had to cancel it because it would have been too dangerous," he said.
The experiment did air, but the hosts later revealed that they have never returned to Esparto as a result.
Two years later, while conducting the "Cannonball Chemistry" experiment, the MythBusters crew accidentally sent a rogue cannonball through the side of a house and into a mini-van in a Dublin, California neighbourhood.
The errant projectile went over its intended target and soared 640m into a neighbouring community, striking a house and leaving a 25 cm hole, before hitting the roof of another house and smashing through a window of a parked mini-van. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Savage and Hyneman later visited homeowners to apologise.
Originally published as Inside the chilling 'Mythbusters curse'