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J. Michael Mendel, ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Rick and Morty’ Producer, Dies at 54

Animation producer J. Michael Mendel, best known for his work on “The Simpsons” and “Rick and Morty,” has died. The four-time Emmy award-winner was 54.

A spokesperson for Adult Swim, the network where “Rick and Morty” airs, confirmed the death in 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 Justin Roiland also offered his condolences on Twitter following Mendel’s passing: “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you by my side Mike. I’m destroyed,” he wrote.

Mendel joined “The Simpsons” in 1989 after leaving his post on “The Tracey Ullman” show once the Simpson clan earned its own spinoff 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.

Born on Sept. 24, 1964, Mendel attended Syracuse University after graduating from Monroe Woodbury High School in Woodbury, New York. Before serving on projects like “Big” and “Jerry Maguire,” he was a production assistant on “Broadcast News” in 1987. He worked on all three projects with Brooks.  His animation credits include “The PJs,” “The Oblongs,” and “Napoleon Dynamite.”

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

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