J. Michael Mendel

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J. Michael Mendel
J. Michael Mendel.jpg
Mendel, circa 1992
Joel Michael Mendel

(1964-09-24)September 24, 1964
DiedSeptember 22, 2019(2019-09-22) (aged 54)
Alma materSyracuse University (BS)
OccupationTelevision producer, associate producer, production assistant
Spouse(s)Juel Bestrop

Joel Michael "Mike" Mendel[1] (September 24, 1964 – September 22, 2019) was an American television producer. He was a five-time Emmy Award winner for his work on The Simpsons and Rick and Morty.


Mendel first worked in television as a production assistant on All My Children and Loving during his summer breaks from studies at Syracuse University.[2] After graduating Syracuse with a Bachelor of Science in television and film production, he worked with James L. Brooks and Gracie Films on Broadcast News, Big, and The Tracey Ullman Show. When Tracey Ullman's The Simpsons shorts were spun off into their own series, Mendel joined its staff as the show's producer, serving from season 1 to season 10. For his work on The Simpsons, Mendel won three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program in 1995 ("Lisa's Wedding"), 1997 ("Homer's Phobia"), and 1998 ("Trash of the Titans").[3][4][5][6]

After departing The Simpsons, Mendel produced shows such as The PJs, The Oblongs, Drawn Together, Sit Down, Shut Up, and Napoleon Dynamite.[5] In 2013, he joined Rick and Morty, where he won his fourth Emmy Award for the episode "Pickle Rick" in 2018.[6] He won a posthumous Emmy in 2020 for the episode "The Vat of Acid Episode".[7]

Personal life[edit]

Mendel attended Monroe-Woodbury High School in Central Valley, New York.[5] A resident of Studio City, Los Angeles, he was married to Juel Bestrop, a casting director for the series Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Life in Pieces, and had two children.[6]

Mendel died at his home in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019, from natural causes, two days before his 55th birthday.[6] Tributes were made to him by Justin Roiland and Al Jean.[5][6] "The Winter of Our Monetized Content", the 31st season premiere of The Simpsons, was dedicated to his memory,[8] as was the season 4 premiere of Rick and Morty, "Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat" and the pilot episode of Solar Opposites.



Year Show Role
1984–1986 All My Children Production assistant[6]
1987–1989 The Tracey Ullman Show
1989–1999 The Simpsons Producer
Associate producer[2]
1994–1995 The Critic Producer[2][5][9]
1999–2000 The PJs
2001 The Oblongs
2003 The Pitts Associate producer[2]
Kid Notorious Producer[6][10]
2004–2007 Drawn Together
2007 Lil' Bush
2009 Sit Down, Shut Up
2011 Good Vibes Line producer[5][11]
2012 Napoleon Dynamite Producer[2]
2013–2021 Rick and Morty
2020 Solar Opposites Producer (posthumous release)


Year Show Role
1987 Broadcast News Production assistant[12][13]
1988 Big
1996 Jerry Maguire Associate producer[12]


  1. ^ "Joel Michael Mendel, OBM". LA Jewish Times. September 25, 2019. Archived from the original on September 27, 2019. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Milligan, Mercedes. "'Simpsons,' 'Rick and Morty' Producer Mike Mendel Dies Age 54". Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  3. ^ Rory Sullivan. "'The Simpsons' and 'Rick and Morty' producer J. Michael Mendel dead at 54". CNN. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  4. ^ Murphy, Sarah. "R.I.P. 'The Simpsons' and 'Rick and Morty' Producer J. Michael Mendel". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Bell, Breanna. "J. Michael Mendel, 'The Simpsons' and 'Rick and Morty' Producer, Dies at 54". Variety. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Barnes, Mike. "J. Michael Mendel, Producer on 'The Simpsons' and 'Rick and Morty,' Dies at 54". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 24, 2019. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  7. ^ Milligan, Mercedes. "'Rick and Morty,' 'Dark Crystal' Score Creative Arts Emmys on Final Night". The Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  8. ^ Hunt, James. "Simpsons Season 31 Premiere Tributes Producer Mike Mendel to the background song". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  9. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003. McFarland & Company. pp. 221, 623.
  10. ^ Terrace, Vincent. The Year in Television, 2008: A Catalog of New and Continuing Series. McFarland. p. 221.
  11. ^ Lowry, Brian. "Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head/Good Vibes". Variety. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "J Michael Mendel death: Rick and Morty and Simpsons producer dies at 54". The Independent. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  13. ^ Cost, Ben. "J. Michael Mendel, 'Simpsons' and 'Rick and Morty' producer, dead at 54". New York Post.

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