Who Was Mike Mendel on Rick and Morty? How Did He Die?

Rick and Morty‘ is an animated comedy series that follows the adventures of Rick, a genius scientist, and Morty, his layman grandson. It is created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, who are the driving force behind the series. The sixth season premiere episode, titled ‘Solaricks,’ takes viewers on another epic adventure as Rick and Morty attempt to reunite with their family. The smartly written and witty episode ends with a tribute to Mike Mendel. Therefore, viewers must be curious to learn more about Mendel, his association with the show, and his demise. In that case, here is everything you need to know about Mike Mendel and his tragic death!

Who Was Mike Mendel?

Joel Michael “Mike” Mendel was born on September 24, 1964, in Radford, Virginia. Mendel attended Monroe-Woodbury High School in Central Valley, New York. He later studied at Syracuse University in New York and obtained a Bachelor of Science in television and film production from the college. Mendel later ventured into a full-time career in film and television production after working as a production assistant on shows such as ‘All My Children’ and ‘Loving’ during his college breaks.

Image Credits: Emmys

In 1989, Mendel joined the crew of the animated sitcom ‘The Simpsons.’ He initially served as an associate producer from 1989 to 1993 before being promoted to producer in 1994. Mendel worked on more than 200 episodes of the show before preparing in 1999. However, Mendel briefly returned to the series in 2015. He also worked as an associate producer on ‘Jerry Maguire,’ the sports drama film starring Tom Cruise. Mendel joined ‘Rick and Morty’ in 2013 as a producer. He was a part of the project since it began airing and is credited across the show’s first five seasons. Mendel is also credited as a producer on ‘Solar Opposites,’ another animated series co-created by Justin Roiland.

How Did Mike Mendel Die?

Mendel accomplished himself as a talented Hollywood producer specializing in animated programming during his time on ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Rick and Morty.’ He won three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program for his work on ‘The Simpsons’ and added two more for ‘Rick and Morty.’ Mendel resided in Studio City, Los Angeles, and was married to Juel Bestrop, a casting director known for her work on shows such as ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and ‘Life in Pieces.’ The couple has two children.

Mendel passed away on September 22, 2019, in his Los Angeles residence. While the details of Mendel’s death were kept under wraps, reports state that the acclaimed producer died of natural causes. Mendel’s death came merely two days before his 55th birthday, and he died aged 54. Adult Swim, the original network of ‘Rick and Morty’ released a press statement about Mendel’s tragic demise. “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,” the statement reads.

After Mendel’s death, his colleagues, such as Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon, Al Jean, and others, took to social media and shared heart-touching tributes to the producer. The fourth season premiere of ‘Rick and Morty,’ titled ‘Edge of Tomorty: Rick Die Rickpeat,’ was dedicated to Mendel’s memory. Likewise, the sixth season premiere, titled ‘Solaricks,’ also pays tribute to the celebrated figure. Despite Mendel’s passing a couple of years ago, it is heartwarming to see the show’s makers continuing to remember their producer fondly.

Read More: Best Rick and Morty Episodes