J. Michael Mendel, a high-profiled producer for hit TV shows The Simpsons and Rick and Morty, has passed away two days before his 55th birthday. The four-time Emmy-winning producer leaves behind a 25-year legacy in Hollywood.
Mendel began his early work on Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show where The Simpsons were just recurring shorts. When Fox decided to develop The Simpsons as an individual TV series on the network, Mendel joined in as producer. He continued to lead the successful show for 10 seasons with a credit of 207 episodes. Mendel was awarded one Emmy in 1995, 1997, and 1998 for his work on the show.
After leaving The Simpsons, Mendel went on to produce 22 episodes of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty from which he won his fourth Emmy last year. His last credited work from the show is “The Rickshank Redemption,” which was the season three premiere – an episode that was praised by fans.
Justin Roiland, Rick and Morty co-creator, took to Twitter to write a grief-stricken message: “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.”
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
Adult Swim also posted a message on Twitter to show their appreciation and love for Mendel: “All of us at Adult Swim are devastated by the untimely passing of Rick and Morty producer Mike Mendel. He 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.”
— [adult swim] (@adultswim) September 24, 2019
Mendel’s work and legacy continue to live on in new episodes of The Simpsons and Rick and Morty. His other credits include animated shows such as The PJs, Drawn Together, and Sit Down Shut Up.
Mendel is survived by his wife Juel Bestrop, and their two children.