Joe Ruby
Joseph Clemens Ruby

(1933-03-30)March 30, 1933
DiedAugust 26, 2020(2020-08-26) (aged 87)
Occupation(s)Animator, writer, television producer, music editor
Years active1959–2020
Carole Ruby
(m. 1957)

Joseph Clemens Ruby (March 30, 1933 – August 26, 2020)[1] was an American animator, writer, television producer, and music editor. He was best known as a co-creator of the animated Scooby-Doo franchise, together with Ken Spears. In 1977, they co-founded the television animation production company Ruby-Spears Productions.[2]


Ruby was born on March 30, 1933, in Los Angeles, the son of Mildred (née Fineberg) and Carl Ruby, a doctor. His family was Jewish, and his parents were Canadian.[3][4][5] He attended Fairfax High School. After graduating, he joined the United States Navy and worked as a sonar operator on a destroyer during the Korean War.[6][7]

Ruby studied art and began his career in animation at Walt Disney Animation Studios in the inbetweening department. He began as a music editor, knowing it would take a long process to become an experienced animator, but nonetheless pursued his passion at the side as a freelance comic book artist and writer.[6] He later worked for a short time in live-action television editing before moving to Hanna-Barbera, where he met Ken Spears, also ex-Navy.[8] The two men teamed up to become writers for several animated and live-action television programs, both freelance and as on-staff writers, starting at Hanna-Barbera in 1959,[9] before leaving the studio due to a wish to become associate producers.[10] They also worked as writers for Sid and Marty Krofft Television Productions and DePatie–Freleng Enterprises.[8]

For Hanna-Barbera, Ruby and Spears created the Scooby-Doo franchise and its main characters: Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Shaggy Rogers, and the eponymous title character. The original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, debuted on CBS in September 1969.[11] After Fred Silverman, then head of daytime programming at CBS, concluded that, after about 15 drafts, a Great Dane was the star of the project,[12] Ruby and Spears tried multiple ideas before settling on a cowardly dog who solves mysteries.[11] For H-B, they also created Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!, Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, Jabberjaw, and Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, among other programs. At DePatie–Freleng, they created The Barkleys and The Houndcats. In the early 1970s, Silverman hired Ruby and Spears to supervise the production of CBS's Saturday morning cartoon lineup, a position they assumed at ABC when Silverman defected to that network.[8]

Wanting to create competition for Hanna-Barbera, ABC set Ruby and Spears up with their own studio in 1977, as a subsidiary of Filmways.[13][14] Ruby-Spears Productions produced animated series for Saturday mornings, among them Fangface, The Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Hour, Thundarr the Barbarian, Saturday Supercade, Mister T, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Superman, among others.[14] Ruby-Spears was bought by Hanna-Barbera's parent company, Taft Entertainment, in 1981, and its back catalog was sold along with the Hanna-Barbera library and studio in 1991 to Turner Broadcasting. Current reissues of Ruby-Spears shows on DVD and digital platforms are therefore copyrighted by Hanna-Barbera Productions.[14]

Ruby died of natural causes at his home in Westlake Village, California, on August 26, 2020, at the age of 87.[6][15] His widow, Carole, specified that he died of complications from a fall.[16] Dan Haskett made a dedication poster for Ruby's contribution to Scooby-Doo five days after his death.[17]


  1. ^ "Joseph Clemens Ruby, Born 03/30/1933 in California |".
  2. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 12, 2010). "Jack Kirby's Heroes in Waiting". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (August 27, 2020). "Joe Ruby Dies: 'Scooby Doo' Co-Creator Was 87". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "Joe Ruby obituary | Anthony Hayward". the Guardian. September 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Bros, Warner (August 28, 2020). "How Scooby-Doo became TV's most Jewish cartoon dog". The Forward.
  6. ^ a b c Barnes, Mike (August 27, 2020). "Joe Ruby, Co-Creator of Scooby-Doo, Dies at 87". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  7. ^ "Scooby-Doo creator Joe Ruby dies, aged 87". The New Zealand Herald. Auckland. August 28, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Shostak, Stu (February 5, 2012). "Interview with Joe Ruby and Ken Spears". Stu's Show. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  9. ^ "". ScoobyAddicts.
  10. ^ "Ruby & Spears : WonderCon 2012". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021.
  11. ^ a b "Scooby-Doo co-creator Joe Ruby dies aged 87". BBC News. August 28, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  12. ^ Green, Penelope (November 19, 2020). "Ken Spears, Partner in an Animation Powerhouse, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  13. ^ "News From ME - Mark Evanier's blog".
  14. ^ a b c Shostak, Stu (01-16-2013). "Tribute To Joseph Barbera". Stu's Show. Retrieved 05-9-2019.
  15. ^ "Scooby-Doo Co-Creator Joe Ruby Dies at 87". Variety. August 27, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  16. ^ "'Scooby-Doo' co-creator Joe Ruby dies at 87 - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.
  17. ^ @WB_Animation (August 31, 2020). "Forever our pal, Joe Ruby" (Tweet) – via Twitter.