The four-time Emmy-winning animation producer J. Michael Mendel died at the age of 54.
Mendel is best known for his longtime work on the smash hit show The Simpsons and Rick And Morty, as well as The Tracy Ullman Show.
Following his passing, some of his longtime colleagues took to social media to pay tribute to their beloved friend.
A spokesperson of Adult Swim, the production company behind Rick And Morty, released a statement saying:
“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.”
Rick And Morty co-creator Dan Harmon also offered his condolences on Instagram. He wrote:
“I can’t handle seeing his cropped photo in headlines with the word dead in them… Rick and Morty has lost Mike Mendel, a man that deserves a better obituary and in my angry opinion, a better god.”
“That opinion is a projection of my shame. I took Mike for granted. He was always needed, and he was always there. He’s going to be needed tomorrow and he won’t be there. The wound will scar but there will be a hole through everything we do from now on. I have only angry things to say for now, that’s how valuable mike was.”
Mendel’s wife, Juel Bestrop, an Emmy-winning casting director who’s worked on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Life In Pieces, confirmed that Mendel died of natural causes.
Other Mendel’s animated credits include The PJs, The Oblongs, Napoleon Dynamite, Drawn Together, The Critic, Kid Notorious, Good Vibes, The Pitts and Shut Up.
He also served as a post-production supervisor on The Tracey Ullman Show before moving to The Simpsons in 1989.
From there, he teamed with Roiland as his line producer on Adult Swim’s Rick And Morty from 2013 to 2017.
Born in 1964, Mendel attended Monroe Woodbury High School in Woodbury, New York, and Syracuse University. He served on projects like “Big” and “Jerry Maguire.” He was also a production assistant on “Broadcast News” in 1987 and worked on all three projects with Brooks
Mendel is survived by his wife, Juel Bestrop, son Jacob and daughter Jesse.