Very sad news is breaking today as veteran animator, writer, and producer Joe Ruby has reportedly passed away. Perhaps best known for co-creating the famous cartoon dog Scooby-Doo along with his longtime collaborator Ken Spears, Ruby died of natural causes on Wednesday in Westlake Village, California, though he continued to be creative until the very end. "He never stopped writing and creating, even as he aged," his grandson Benjamin Ruby said. The television legend was 87 years old.
Born in 1930, Ruby had begun his career in entertainment working as an inbetweener and editor for Walt Disney Productions. Following a stint in the U. S. Army, he then moved on to Hanna-Barbera Productions, where he first met Ken Spears. Sparking a years-long partnership, the two would team up to create many original characters and shows for Hanna-Barbera, such as Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, and Jabberjaw.
Of course, their most well-known work is certainly creating the hit animated series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, which first premiered back in 1969. The Saturday morning cartoon series followed a group of teenagers solving mysteries with a talking Great Dane, often exposing supposedly supernatural entities to in fact be disgruntled locals. In the decades since, the Scooby-Doo franchise has spawned a wide variety of alternate adaptations in various mediums, putting it among the most successful television shows of all time.
In 2002, Scooby-Doo was made into a theatrical live-action movie after spending decades in animation. The movie was a very big success, leading to a follow-up movie in 2004. Several animated movies and television shows would also continue to be made in the years since, often The latest animated series version from the franchise, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, premiered on Boomerang last year. Just this year, the series was also rebooted as a movie series once again with the all new animated movie Scoob!
Ruby and Spears would eventually depart Hanna-Barbera to pursue work as associate producers. This led to stints writing for Sid and Marty Krofft Television Productions and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. They'd later be hired by CBS and later ABC to supervise each respective network's lineup of Saturday morning cartoons. Eventually, they'd form their own studio, Ruby-Spears Productions, to develop even more original content. Some of the pair's notable shows during this period includes Thundarr the Barbarian, Saturday Supercade, Mister T, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Superman, and The Plastic Man Comedy-Aventure Hour.
Additionally, Ruby would executive produce various television shows like Punky Brewster, Police Academy: The Animated Series, and the Rambo cartoon. He had also worked with legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby to develop various stories and characters that they had intended to eventually bring to the screen.
Ruby's survivors include his wife of 63 years, Carole, along with four children and ten grandchildren. We offer our condolences to the entire family at this difficult time. Though Ruby is no longer with us, his legacy remains just as strong as ever, and his thumbprints can still be seen in today's animated movies and television shows. May he rest in peace. This news comes to us from Variety.