'The Simpsons' & 'Rick and Morty' producer dies at 54

Publish Date
Wednesday, 25 September 2019, 11:57AM


Animation producer J. Michael Mendel, who worked on the popular cartoons The Simpsons and Rick and Morty, has died at age 54.

A spokesperson for Adult Swim, the networks that air Rick and Morty, said they were "devastated by the untimely passing" of the four-time Emmy award-winner.

"Mike was the heart of the 'Rick and Morty' production family, his fantastic talent and wit will be sorely missed," they wrote.

"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."

Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland also shared his condolences on Twitter.

"I don't know what I'm going to do without you by my side Mike. I'm destroyed," he posted.

Mendel moved from his gig as a post-production supervisor on Fox's The Tracey Ullman Show to The Simpsons in 1989 when it was spun off as its own series.

He also served as a line producer and worked between James L. Brooks' Gracie Films and Fox.

Between 1989-1999, Mendel held producer credits on 207 episodes and won three Emmys almost consecutively in 1995, '97, and '98.

He earned his fourth in 2018 for his work as a line producer on Rick and Morty after four years with the show.

Mendel is survived by his wife, fellow Emmy winner and casting director Juel Bestrop.

Born on Sept. 24, 1964, Mendel attended Syracuse University after graduating from Monroe Woodbury High School in Woodbury, New York.

Before working on projects like Big and Jerry Maguire, he was a production assistant on Broadcast News in 1987.

His animation credits include The PJs, The Oblongs and Napoleon Dynamite.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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