Joe Ruby, who co-created “Scooby-Doo” with his partner Ken Spears, died of natural causes Wednesday in Westlake Villiage, California, according to Variety. He was 87.
The beloved animated kids’ mystery series, whose full title was “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?,” premiered in 1969 on CBS and aired until 1976, with several spinoffs and movies following in the years to come. The characters, Scooby-Doo, Fred, Shaggy, Daphne, and Velma, were designed by Iwao Takamoto.
“He never stopped writing and creating, even as he aged,” his grandson Benjamin Ruby told Variety.
Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation and Blue Ribbon Content, told TheWrap, “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.”
The premise of the Saturday morning cartoon followed the four teenagers and their talking Great Dane as they traveled in their van, the Mystery Machine, to solve mysteries. They often unmasked villains at the end of the episodes, who would exclaim some iteration of, “I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”
Spinoffs of “Scooby-Doo,” like “Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo” and “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo,” and others aired on ABC from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, with reruns later airing on Cartoon Network. Warner Bros. made two live-action movies in the early 2000s called “Scooby-Doo” and “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.” From 2002 to 2008, a new series “What’s New Scooby-Doo?” aired on Kids’ WB and then The CW. Cartoon Network later launched another series, “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!” in 2014, which ran until 2018. “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?” began airing on Boomerang in 2019.
Ruby and Spears also created other Hanna-Barbera series including “Dynomutt” and “Jabberjaw.”