Ken Spears, the co-creator of the well-known Scooby-Doo animated television series, passed away on Friday, November 6, 2020, at the age of 82.
Spears was born on March 12, 1938, and grew up in Los Angeles. He got his start in television when he was hired at Hanna-Barbera in 1959 as a sound editor.
Spears, who was nominated for a Daytime Emmy four times, suffered from Lewy body dementia, according to his son, Kevin. He died in Brea, California, from complications of that disease.
“Ken will forever be remembered for his wit, his story-telling, his loyalty to family, and his strong work ethic,” says Kevin. “Ken has not only made a lasting impression on his family, but he has touched the lives of many as co-creator of Scooby-Doo. Ken has been a role model for us throughout his life and he will continue to live on in our hearts.”
This news comes less than three months after Spears’s long-time creative partner, Joe Ruby, also passed away on the 26th of August. The pair met while working as sound editors at the Hanna-Barbera Productions. They later teamed up to create the Great Dane named Scooby and his human friends Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred.
The Scooby-Doo! Where Are You? show premiered on CBS in 1969. Ruby and Spears co-wrote and story-edited four of the first 25 episodes themselves and edited and supervised the remainder of the inaugural series. The pair also created two less popular series, Dynomutt and Jabberjaw. They even created their own studio, where they produced favorites such as Superman and Alvin and the Chipmunks.
The president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, Sam Register, released a statement expressing his condolences. “He was a true innovator in the industry whose gifts of humor and storytelling continue to delight audiences,” says Register.
He also said that there’s not a screen in the world that hasn’t played some version of a Scooby-Doo show or movie and that Warner Bros. Animation is honored to carry on the legacy of Spears’s characters.
Scooby-Doo only stayed on the air until 1976, but there have been countless spin-offs, reboots, and movies surrounding the original characters created by Spears and Ruby.
Ken is survived by two children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. May he rest in peace.