J. Michael Mendel, Emmy-winning producer The Simpsons and Rick and Morty, has died.
His wife, Emmy-winning casting director Juel Bestrop told The Hollywood Reporter he died of natural causes Sunday night at their home in Studio City.
Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty, wrote on Twitter:
“I don’t know what I’m going to do without you by my side Mike. I’m destroyed.”
Longtime Simpsons producer Al Jean also reported the sad news.
Mendel moved from Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show to The Simpsons in 1989 when it was spun off as its own series and served as a line producer, working with James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films.
Mendel won Emmys for his work in 1995, ’97 and ’98. He then teamed-up with Roiland as his line producer on Adult Swim‘s Rick and Morty from 2013-17, and got another Emmy just last year. The network said in a statement,
“All of us at Adult Swim are devastated by the untimely passing of Mike Mendel. Mike was the heart of the Rick and Morty production family; his fantastic talent and wit will be sorely missed. Mike was a universally respected Emmy-winning producer with over 25 years in the industry who guided and supported a generation of artists, writers and creators, and his absence will be felt by the entire community. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.”
Mendel also served as a production assistant on the Brooks-directed Broadcast News (1987) and the Brooks-produced Big (1988), then was an associate producer on Jerry Maguire (1996), also produced by Brooks.
Mendel’s animation credits also included The Critic; The PJs, The Oblongs, The Pittss, Kid Notorious, Drawn Together, Sit Down Shut Up; Good Vibes, and Napoleon Dynamite.
Mike Mendel died just two days short of his 55th birthday.
My friend, partner, and line producer Mike Mendel passed away. I am devastated. My heart breaks for his family. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you by my side Mike. I’m destroyed.— Justin Roiland (@JustinRoiland) September 23, 2019