The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that J. Michael Mendel, the animation producer who won four Emmy Awards for his work on The Simpsons and Rick and Morty, has died.
This was confirmed by his wife, the Emmy-winning casting director Juel Bestrop, who said that he died of natural causes Sunday night at their home in Studio City.
Mendel moved from his gig as a postproduction supervisor on Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show to The Simpsons in 1989 when it was spun off as its own series. He served as a line producer, working between James L. Brooks’ Gracie Films and the network to make sure the show was finished on time and on budget.
Mendel had various producer credits on 207 episodes ranging from 1989-99 and won Emmys for his work in 1995, ’97 and ’98.
He then teamed with Roiland as his line producer on Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty from 2013-17, receiving another Emmy in 2018.
Born on Sept. 24, 1964, Mendel attended Monroe Woodbury High School in Woodbury, New York, and Syracuse University. He served as a production assistant on the Brooks-directed Broadcast News (1987) and the Brooks-produced Big (1988), then was an associate producer on Jerry Maguire (1996), also produced by Brooks.
Mendel’s animation credits also included The Critic; The PJs; The Oblongs; The Pitts; Kid Notorious; Drawn Together; Sit Down, Shut Up; Good Vibes; and Napoleon Dynamite.
Survivors also include his son, Jacob, and daughter, Jesse.
He was 54.