With credits on The Simpsons from its early inception of 1989, animation producer J. Michael Mendel is one of the most accomplished creatives in the industry. Garnering a slew of awards that include Emmys in in 1995, 1997 and 1998, as well as another Emmy award for his work on Rick and Morty in 2018, it was reported overnight that the producer had unexpectedly passed away, aged at just 54. According to his wife, casting director Juel Bestrop, Michael died of ‘natural causes’ at their home in Studio City, Los Angeles, on Sunday, September 22.
Also known for his expertise on the likes of Napoleon Dynamite, Jerry Maguire and Big his network, colleagues and the greater community have taken to Twitter to express their condolences.
“All of us at Adult Swim are devastated by the untimely passing of Rick and Morty producer Mike Mendel,” the popular networks tweeted. “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.”
Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty, took to Twitter to say he was ‘devastated’ by the sad news.
“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,” he tweeted.
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
After moving from a postproduction supervisor role at The Tracey Ullman Show to The Simpsons in 1989, he was first, a line producer working between James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films and the Fox network to make sure the show was completed on time and on budget, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
Now, the extensive Mendel legacy will live through the crude and quirky characters he once worked on.
Rest in peace.