LOS ANGELES - J. Michael Mendel, an Emmy-winning animation producer best known for his work on “The Simpsons” and “Rick and Morty,” has died. He was 54.
His wife, Emmy-winning casting director Juel Bestrop, said Mendel died of natural causes Sunday night at their home in Los Angeles, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Adult Swim, the U.S. television network that airs “Rick and Morty,” confirmed his death in a statement on Twitter.
“All of us at Adult Swim are devastated by the untimely passing of Mike Mendel,” the statement reads. “Mike was the heart of the ‘Rick and Morty’ production family, his fantastic talent and wit will be sorely missed. 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, the co-creator of “Rick and Morty,” said he was “devastated” by the news of Mendel’s passing.
"My friend, partner, and line producer Mike Mendel passed away. I am devastated,” Roiland wrote on Twitter. “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."
Al Jean, a longtime producer of “The Simpsons,” also shared his condolences on Twitter.
Mendel had several producer credits on 207 episodes of “The Simpsons” ranging from 1989 to 1999 and won Emmys for his work in 1995, 1997 and 1998, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He later joined Roiland as a line producer on “Rick and Morty” from 2013 to 2017, winning another Emmy in 2018.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.