Joe Ruby Dies: ‘Scooby Doo’ Co-Creator Was 87

Scooby Doo
WB/Everett Collection

Animator and Scooby Doo co-creator Joe Ruby has died. The co-founder of production company Ruby-Spears passed away in Westlake Village, CA on Wednesday. He was 87.

A rep for Ruby told Deadline that the animator died of natural causes after years of dealing with health issues.

The animator, who teamed with Ken Spears to create Dynomutt, Dog Wonder and Jabberjaw, was born in Los Angeles, Calif. on March 30, 1933. He began his animation career under Walt Disney Productions before shifting his focus to editing and producing.

After serving in the U.S. Army, Ruby met soon-to-be collaborator Spears at Hanna-Barbera Productions, where the two worked together to create multiple animated and live-action titles, including cartoon juggernaut Scooby Doo.

Ruby and Spears’ group of crime-solving teens and their anthropomorphic mascot first hit the screen on CBS in 1969.  The series introduced Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, Fred and the beloved Scooby Doo to kids and cartoon enthusiasts across America, and eventually all over the world.

Since the gang’s first appearance, the Scooby Doo franchise has grown to feature several TV specials including Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost. Live-action films based on the characters were released by Warner Bros in 2002 and 2004, and the computer-animated Scoob! was released by Warner Bros on demand and in select theaters this year.

In the 1970s, Ruby and Spears moved over to CBS to supervise the network’s lineup of Saturday morning cartoons. Years later, the two animators created their eponymous Ruby-Spears Productions which also brought about animated series Thundarr the Barbarian, Mister T, Superman and Alvin and the Chipmunks, the latter which went on to receive three Daytime Emmy nods. Ruby also served to produce the aforementioned cartoon series.

“Joe Ruby made Saturday mornings special for so many children, including myself,” said Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation and Blue Ribbon Content. “He was one of the most prolific creators in our industry who gifted us some of animation’s most treasured characters and it was a thrill to host him at our studio. Scooby-Doo has been a beloved companion on screens for more than 50 years, leaving an enduring legacy that has inspired and entertained generations.  We at Warner Bros. Animation have the privilege and honor of carrying on that legacy and send our warmest thoughts to his loved ones.”

Survivors include Ruby’s wife Carole, four children and 10 grandchildren.

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