‘Solar Opposites’ on Hulu Dedicated to Mike Mendel

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If you’re watching Justin Roiland’s new series on Hulu called Solar Opposites, then you no doubt noticed that the first episode is dedicated to Mike Mendel. How did he die? Who was he? Mendel worked on many popular TV series like Rick and Morty and The Simpsons. He was also honored at the end of the first Rick and Morty episode for Season 4. Learn more about him below.

Mendel’s wife, Juel Bestrop, said her husband died of natural causes unexpectedly on a Sunday night in September 2019, The Hollywood Reporter noted. He lived in Studio City.

Mendel was going to work on Solar Opposites with Roiland. His death was a huge loss to the show. 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.”

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Adult Swim released a statement 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.”

Justin Roiland was devastated by Mendel’s death. He wrote on Twitter: “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.”

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.”

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.”

Mendel worked on 22 episodes of Rick and Morty, including the Season 3 premiere, The Rickshank Redemption, that was released on April Fool’s day. He also won for his work on the Pickle Rick episode, for which he won an Emmy. He worked on numerous episodes of The Simpsons and many other shows. He worked under the name J. Michael Mendel, which is his IMDb listing.

In 1998, Mendel was 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. 

Mendel worked on many other productions, including 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.

Mike Mendel left behind his beloved wife, Juel Bestrop, and two children: Jesse and Jacob,  according to The Hollywood Reporter. Bestrop is an Emmy-winning casting director.

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