J Michael Mendel death: Rick and Morty and Simpsons producer dies at 54

Mendel’s film credits included Broadcast News, Big and Jerry Maguire

Adam White
Tuesday 24 September 2019 07:48
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The Emmy-winning animation producer J Michael Mendel, who worked on series including The Simpsons and Rick and Morty, has died at the age of 54.

A spokesperson for Adult Swim, the US television network that broadcasts Rick and Morty, 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.”

A cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

On Twitter, Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland wrote: “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you by my side Mike. I’m destroyed.”

Mendel served as an associate producer and then a producer on The Simpsons from its first episode in 1989 until 1999, having joined the series from his staff position on The Tracey Ullman Show, which first launched The Simpsons as a recurring series of animated shorts.

He served as a line producer on Rick and Morty from its debut in 2013, and was awarded an Emmy for his work on the show in 2018.

He had previously won three Emmys for his work on The Simpsons in 1995, 1997 and 1998, and received a nomination for his production work on the short-lived animated comedy The PJs. Mendel also worked as a production assistant on the films Broadcast News and Big, and as an associate producer on Jerry Maguire.

Mendel is survived by his wife, the Emmy-winning casting director Juel Bestrop, and their son and daughter.

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