Mike Mendel, a producer who recently worked on the popular TV series Rick and Morty and The Simpsons, has died. He was only 54. He’s survived by his wife, Juel Bestrop, and his children Jacob and Jesse.
The producer’s exact cause of death has not yet been released, but his wife said he died of natural causes suddenly on Sunday night, The Hollywood Reporter noted. He lived in Studio City.
Adult Swim released a statement to THR about his death: “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 was also honored at the end of the first Rick and Morty episode of Season 4.
1. Mike Mendel Worked on 22 Episodes of ‘Rick and Morty’ & 83 Episodes of ‘The Simpsons’
He worked on 22 episodes of Rick and Morty, including the Season 3 premiere, The Rickshank Redemption, that was released on April Fool’s day a couple of years ago to fans’ excitement. He also won for his work on the Pickle Rick episode, for which he won an Emmy.
He also worked on numerous episodes of The Simpsons and many other shows. He worked under the name J. Michael Mendel, which is his IMDb listing.
Adult Swim posted a tribute to Mendel on Twitter.
2. Justin Roiland Tweeted that He Was ‘Devastated’ & ‘Destroyed’ over Mendel’s Death
Justin Roiland tweeted that he was “devastated” over his friend’s death.
He wrote: “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.”
Mike Mendel was apparently also going to work on Solar Opposites, a new animated series that Roiland is bringing to Hulu. Brandon Williams, a storyboard revisionist at Warner Bros. Animation, wrote on Facebook: “Devastating news. Mike Mendel was the captain of our ship on Solar Opposites… I wish I was able to get to know him better, but even in the short time we worked together he left a lasting impression. Rip man.”
3. Mendel Has Won Four Primetime Emmys
Mendel has won four primetime Emmys. In 2018 he was listed among the winners for Outstanding Animated Program for his work on “Pickle Rick” of Rick and Morty.
In 1998 he listed among the winners of “Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less)” for his work on the “Trash of the Titans” episode of The Simpsons.
In 1997 he won the same award for “Homer’s Phobia” on The Simpsons.
In 1995 he won the same award for the “Lisa’s Wedding” episode of The Simpsons.
4. He Also Worked on ‘Jerry Maguire’, ‘Big,’ & Numerous Other Shows & Films
Mendel has worked on some very popular productions. He worked on Napoleon Dynamite, Good Vibes, Sit Down Shut Up, Drawn Together, The Pitts, The PJs, and The Critic. He was an associate producer on Jerry Maguire and a production assistant on Big, one of his earlier gigs.
5. Many Are Sharing Tributes to Mendel on Twitter
Many are taking to Twitter to share their heartbreak about his passing.
Dik Pose, a story artist for Rick and Morty, wrote: “Came into work to the news that our boss, leader, friend, line-producer Mike Mendel passed away He was the most honest, trusting producer I’ve worked for My heart aches for his family, loved ones, & crew. We love you. Thanks for everything.”
Mark Douglas, a producer for Amazon Prime, wrote: “Mike Mendel was a mentor to me when I was just starting out working in TV. A really wonderful guy. He will be greatly missed.”
Carol Wyatt, an animation producer, wrote “Mike Mendel was the best person, producer, friend, soul a person could have in this crazy business! I will miss him so much.”
Eric Martin wrote: “Mike Mendel was my first boss in the industry. A great guy that set an ethical, professional tone in an industry that rarely has either. So much more life to live. Just awful.”
Mike Mendel was a talented man who was taken far too soon. His friends, colleagues, and family will miss him deeply.
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