Joe Ruby, the longtime partner of Ken Spears, and a major part of my generation’s childhood, passed away on August 26, 2020. He was 87, and died of natural causes.
Joseph C. Ruby was born March 30, 1933 in Los Angeles, CA. He started his animation career working for Walt Disney Studios. After a brief stint in the Navy, he returned to civilian life and got a job with Hanna-Barbera, where he met and teamed up with fellow writer Ken Spears. In addition to Scooby-Doo, the pair would go on to create Blue Falcon and Dyno-Mutt, and Jabberjaw for Hanna-Barbera.
He and Spears teamed up to produce cartoons and live-action shows for Hanna-Barbera, Sid and Marty Krofft, and DePatie-Freleng including Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, Bigfoot and Wildboy, Magic Mongo, Thundarr the Barbarian, Lazer Tag Academy, and more. Ruby co-wrote the horror movie Rumpelstiltskin, which starred Max Grodénchik (Nog of Star Trek: DS9).
Although Ruby wrote, edited, and/or produced countless TV shows, ranging from Punky Brewster to the animated Rambo cartoon, he will be best remembered as the co-creator of Scooby-Doo, which taught generations of children not to take for granted what they were told by wealthy businessmen, but to explore and investigate for themselves, to seek out their own answers, and gather and analyze facts. Ruby and Spears taught that meddling kids and a talking dog could find the truth if they were brave and determined, and that greedy realtors were more dangerous than ghosts and witches.
Joe Ruby is survived by Carole, his wife of sixty-three years, and their four children, Cliff, Deanna, Craig, and Debby. He will be remembered as a husband, a father, a veteran, and a storyteller.