Ken Spears, co-creator of the popular animated series “Scooby-Doo” and co-founder of Ruby-Spears with Joe Ruby, has died at the age of 82.
His son Kevin Spears said Spears died of complications from dementia.
“Ken will always be remembered for his intelligence, storytelling, family loyalty and strong work ethic,” said Kevin Spears. Not only did Ken have a lasting impact on his family, he also influenced the lives of many as the creator of Scooby-Doo. Ken has been a role model for us all his life and will live on in our hearts.
Spears, born March 12, 1938, grew up in Los Angeles, California and became friends with the son of William Hannah, an animator. He was later hired by Hannah as a sound editor.
While working in the sound department, he met Joe Ruby, and they began a successful writing partnership. Together, they wrote television shows for Hannah and produced content for the television production company Marty Kraft and Dupty-Ferlang Enterprises.
Spears and Ruby produced the popular animated series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!”, “Dinomot”, “Phenomenon Dog” and “Jabrja” for Hannah, and “Barclays” and “Hunting Cats” for DuPt-Ferlang.
Fred Silverman, head of CBS’s children’s programming department, hired both of them in the early 1970s to oversee CBS Saturday morning cartoons, and when Silverman went to ABC, they went with him. Spears also advised the story of the 1974 television series Planet of the Apes.
In 1977, Spears and Ruby created their own studio called Ruby-Spears Productions. They created several animated series, including “Superman”, “Alvin and the Chipmans”, “Mr. T” and “Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Hour”.
Taft Entertainment, the parent company of Hannah Hannah-Barbara, bought Ruby-Spears Productions. Finally, in 1991, Turner Broadcasting bought the company, as well as Hannah-Barbara.