The premiere episode of Rick and Morty Season 4 on Adult Swim featured a tribute to Mike Mendel.
Rick and Morty paid tribute to Mendel with a short animated video that aired at the end of the first episode. The short video featured an animated version of Mike Mendel with a dog and a message that read: “In loving memory of Mike Mendel.”
If you have watched the premiere episode of Rick and Morty Season 4 and saw the tribute at the end of the show, you might have wondered who Mike Mendel is.
Here is everything you need to know.
Who was Mike Mendel?
Mike Mendel (Joel Michael Mendel) worked as a producer on Rick and Morty. He passed away at his home in Studio City, Los Angeles, on September 22, at the age of 54. According to his IMDb page, he was born on September 24, 1964, in Radford, Virginia.
He attended Monroe Woodbury High School in Woodbury, New York, and Syracuse University.
Rick and Morty paid tribute to Mike Mendel at the end of the Season 4 premiere
Mike was a producer for both The Simpsons and Rick and Morty, and won four Emmy's for that work. He passed in September of this year.
Much respect. pic.twitter.com/F0FXFE9esQ
— TRAFON (@RiseFallNick) November 11, 2019
Justin Roiland, Rick and Morty co-creator, took to Twitter on September 23 to announce the sad news of Mendel’s death.
“My friend, partner, and line producer Mike Mendel passed away. I am devastated. My heart breaks for his family,” he tweeted. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you by my side Mike. I’m destroyed.”
My friend, partner, and line producer Mike Mendel passed away. I am devastated. 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.
— Justin Roiland (@JustinRoiland) September 23, 2019
Adult Swim also released an official statement announcing Mendel’s death.
“All of us at Adult Swim are devastated by the untimely passing of Rick and Morty producer Mike Mendel,” the statement read. “He guided and supported a generation of artists, writers and creators and his absence will be felt by the entire community.”
— adultswim (@adultswim) September 24, 2019
Mendel won multiple Emmys for his work over the years. He even won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program for his work on Rick and Morty Season 3, Episode 3, titled Pickle Rick, which aired in August 2017.
Mendel also worked on The Simpsons as a producer and won three Emmys for his work on three episodes of the popular animated series: The Simpsons Season 6, Episode 19, titled Lisa’s Wedding (aired in March 1995), Season 8, Episode 15, titled Homer’s Phobia (aired in February 1997), and Season 9, Episode 22, titled Trash of the Titans (aired in April 1998).
The Simpsons had earlier paid a similar tribute to Mendel. The tribute featured at the end of the premiere episode of Season 31, which aired on Sunday, September 29. It included a Simpsons-cartoon-style image of Mendel and the message: “In Loving Memory of Mike Mendel.”
— Michael Powell (@WWE_SonicMan) September 30, 2019
Mendel also worked as a production assistant on Big (1988) and as an associate producer on Jerry Maguire (1996). He worked as a producer on several other animated TV shows, such as The PJs (1999-2001), The Oblongs (2001), and Sit Down, Shut Up (2009).
He was survived by his wife, Juel Bestrop, a casting director and Emmy winner.