Animation writer, executive, and Scooby-Doo co-creator Joe Ruby has died of natural causes at age 87 on Wednesday in Westlake Village, California. “He never stopped writing and creating, even as he aged,” his grandson Benjamin Ruby said.
Ruby began his career as an inbetweener at Walt Disney Productions but went on to serve in the Navy for a while before working in television editing at Hanna-Barbera Productions, where he met his partner and Scooby-Doo co-creator, Ken Spears. When the cartoon took off, CBS’ president of children’s programming Fred Silverman hired both of them to oversee the Saturday morning cartoon sessions. Following Silverman’s departure, the duo left as well to create their own studio in 1977, producing shows such as Mister T, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Superman, Thundarr the Barbarian, Fangface, and The Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Hour.
Warner Bros. Animation and Blue Ribbon Content president Sam Register wrote in a statement following Ruby’s death: “Joe Ruby made Saturday mornings special for so many children, including myself. 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.”
Ruby is survived by his wife of Carole along with four children and 10 grandchildren.