On Sunday, Nov. 10, Adult Swim fans and Pickle Rick enthusiasts were treated to the Season 4 premiere of Rick and Morty. And while I haven't watched the episode in its entirety (so no spoilers, please!) I was curious to hear the episode was "dedicated" to Mike Mendel.
So, "who is Mike Mendel?" you might be wondering. While he happens to have been a behind-the-scenes star, you are 100 percent familiar with a large majority of his work.
Who is Mike Mendel from Rick and Morty? His work is seriously legendary.
Mike, (birth name: Joel Michael Mendel), worked on a wide range of cinematographic projects that you've definitely heard of. In addition to producing 22 episodes of Rick and Morty, he's produced a total of 207 episodes of The Simpsons, and even got his name on the 1996 drama Jerry Maguire, according toThe Hollywood Reporter.
In his lifetime, Mike has achieved an impressive total of four Emmy Awards. So, it's safe to say he's slayed the game.
He married a famous casting director.
That's right — Mike married famous casting director Juel Bestrop, (who has worked on major titles such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Life in Pieces). If you're familiar with the film industry, you may be familiar with Juel's casting company, Juel Bestrop Casting, which is based in Studio City, Los Angeles.
The two film legends parented two children in Studio City, Los Angeles.
So, why was the season premiere dedicated to him?
Sadly, Mike passed away only two days before his 55th birthday on Sept. 22, 2019. And although the cause of his death has not yet been released, his wife, Juel, has informed the masses that he died due to "natural causes." Apparently, he passed comfortably in the couple's Southern California home, according to Heavy.
And since he worked on the show, his colleagues felt it would be appropriate to release Season 4, Episode 1 in his honor.
When Adult Swim initially caught wind of the producer's passing, according to The Independent, the network released a sorrowful statement. It read:
“All of us are devastated by the untimely passing of producer Mike Mendel. 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.”
Rick and Morty's co-creator, Justin Roiland, also released a sad statement via Twitter, in response to the tragic news.
"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 wrote.
So, little did we know that the return of Rick and Morty was bittersweet for Mike's colleagues as this was the very first season premiere since he passed away.
Our condolences go out to all of the producer's fans, friends, and family. May he rest in peace.