Salvatore Paul "Tory" Belleci is an American television personality 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 including 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.
Belleci in 2006
Salvatore Paul Belleci
October 30, 1970
|Occupation||Model maker, television host|
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 caused 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. Belleci was raised and is a devout Christian.
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. The bike almost hit Belleci's head. 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.
In 2013 Belleci created a YouTube channel entitled Blow It Up, where he and various guests use explosives to blow up everyday items.
In 2015, Byron and Belleci hosted Thrill Factor, a new show for the Travel Channel. In this show they visit and showcase thrill rides around the world and explore a little bit of science such as the effect of G forces on breathing, heart rate and other factors.
Belleci will star alongside Richard Hammond (Top Gear, The Grand Tour) for an untitled Amazon Video series announced in August 2019 to be produced by Hammond's Chimp Productions. The six-episode series will strand the two on a deserted island via shipwreck, and the two will use available resources to build out the means to survive on the island.
From June 5–11, 2014, Belleci competed with electronic dance music producer 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 "Spirit of the Gumball" award.
On Christmas Eve 2018, Belleci proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Erin B.
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.
- Sullivan, Jeff (April 25, 2008). "Busted: Discovery show hosts reveal truth behind myths". The Good 5 Cent Cigar. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- Cabera, Marc (October 4, 2010). "The Beat: Local boy paid to blow stuff up". Monterey County Herald. Northern California Network. Archived from the original on October 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- "Department of Cinema notable Alumni". San Francisco State University. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Biography". Tory Belleci Official Website. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Tory: Bio: MythBusters". MythBusters Official Site. Discovery Communications. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
- Tarling, Lowell (2006). MythBusters Busted: 17 Mythbuster Classics That Could Happen To You. Wilkinson Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-921203-10-7.
- "MythBusters in Pop Culture". MythBusters Official Site. Discovery Communications. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- Snyder, Steven James (March 25, 2010). "MythBusters: An Appreciation. You Can Bust My Myth Anytime". Techland. Time. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- "Blow It Up". YouTube.
- Fitzpatrick, Kevin (December 8, 2016). "Ex-"MythBuster" Attempt Mind Control in Netflix 'White Rabbit' Clip". ScreenCrush. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
- White, Peter (August 21, 2019). "'The Grand Tour's Richard Hammond & 'Mythbusters' Tory Belleci Take On Adventure Format For Amazon – Edinburgh". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
- "Gumball3000 - deadmau5". Gumball3000. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "MythBusters- Tory Belleci in Haiti Pt1". September 28, 2010. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
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