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Tory Belleci is a filmmaker and model maker, best known for his work on the Discovery Channel television program MythBusters. He has also worked with Industrial Light and Magic on films, such as: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The Federation battleships and podracers are some of Belleci's pieces.
From June 5–11 2014, Belleci competed with famed electronic dance music producer and deadmau5 in the Gumball 3000 race riding co-pilot in deadmau5's Ferrari 458 Spider named Purrari from Miami to Ibiza Spain and won top honors taking away the coveted Spirit of the Gumball award.
Belleci has a long history of working with fire and explosives. At an early age, his father showed him how to make a Molotov cocktail. He later built what was essentially a homemade flamethrower. The device was a problem when he accidentally lit part of his house on fire. When he was 19, he was nearly arrested for setting off a homemade pipe bomb near his parents' home in Seaside, California. The officer encouraged young Belleci to find a way of expressing his love for explosions and special effects that did not involve getting arrested.
In 1994, after graduating from San Francisco State University's film school, he started working with Jamie Hyneman at M5 Industries. Belleci worked as a stage manager, running errands and cleaning the shop, but quickly moved up the ranks. A few years later, he started work at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). Belleci worked for ILM for eight years as a model builder, sculptor, and painter. Belleci began work on Discovery Channel's MythBusters, in 2003, doing work behind the scenes and, in the second season, was featured as part of the show's build team. In the show's third season, he received on-screen credit. In 2005, Belleci persuaded fellow ILM veteran Grant Imahara to join the show, following the departure of original cast member Scottie Chapman.
Belleci is often considered, by fellow MythBusters Kari Byron and Grant Imahara, to be more of a daredevil and, as such, often performs the more dangerous stunts when testing a myth. These have included: testing the "Red Flag to a Bull" myth; testing the myth that a human's tongue will instantly stick to a frozen pole, in the "Snow Special" episode; and the myth "can you stay underwater for an hour while breathing through a dart tube?", in the "Ninja Movie Myths 2" episode. One of his more popular stunts, shown several times on the show, was an attempt to jump over a toy wagon on a bicycle; the attempt failed, resulting in Belleci flipping forward and landing on his face. As a result of doing these stunts, he is often involved in comical accidents while testing myths. According to the October 28, 2012 episode of MythBusters, he suffers from acrophobia.
During the "Hollywood Hang" sequence, of the 2010 episode "Soda Cup Killer", Belleci fell off a roof, and despite being strapped into a safety harness system, landed in an open window ledge below the drop point, and hurt his leg causing substantial bleeding.
He and Byron made a guest appearance on the October 3, 2012 episode of the Discovery series Sons of Guns. They test-fired some of the weapons in the Red Jacket shop and watched as the staff re-tested a myth previously busted by the Build Team: that a propane tank could explode if struck by a bullet.
On August 21, 2014, it was announced that Belleci, along with co-stars Byron and Imahara, would be leaving MythBusters.
He hosted Pumpkin chunking.
During Mythbusters' 2010 break, Belleci volunteered time to visit Haiti. He visited orphanages and installed clean water systems with "Life Giving Force," a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing clean water to communities in need. He communicated that the trip has had a profound effect on him and that he admires the resilience of the Haitian people.