Ken Spears, co-founder of popular animated series “Scooby-Doo” and co-founder of Ruby Spears Productions, died with the late Joe Ruby, Friday. He was 82 years old.
Says Kevin Spears, Spears’ son variety He died of complications related to Lewy body dementia.
“Kane will forever be remembered because of his intelligence, storytelling, loyalty to family, and a strong work ethic,” says Kevin Spears. “Kane has not only made a lasting impression on his family, but has also influenced many lives as a co-author of Scooby-Doo. Kane has been a role model for us throughout his life and will continue to live in our hearts.”
Charles Kenneth Spears was born on March 12, 1938, and raised in Los Angeles, California, where he befriended the son of animation producer William Hanna. Spears was later hired at Hanna-Barbera Productions, in 1959 as Sound Editor. While working in the editorial department, Spears met Joe Ruby, and the two began a fruitful writing partnership. Together they have written TV sets for Hanna-Barbera, Sid, Marty Krofft Television Productions, and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.
Spears and Ruby created popular animated shows such as “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” “Dynomutt,” “Dog Wonder,” and “Jabberjaw” by Hanna-Barbera, as well as “The Barkleys” and “The Houndcats” by DePatie-Freleng. Fred Silverman, head of CBS Kids’ Program, hired both Spears and Robbie in the early 1970s to oversee the Saturday Morning Animation group on CBS, and when Silverman moved to ABC, they followed suit. Spears was also a story advisor for the 1974 TV series Planet of the Apes.
In 1977, Spears and Robbie set up their studio, Ruby Spears Productions. They produced several animated series, including Superman, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Fangface, Mister T, The Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Hour, Thundarr the Barbarian and The Saturday Supercade. In 1981, Taft Entertainment, Hanna-Barbera’s parent company, bought Ruby-Spears Productions. The Ruby-Spears catalog, along with the Hanna-Barbera catalog, were sold to Turner Broadcasting in 1991. Ruby passed away on August 26.
Spears is survived by his two sons, Kevin and Chris. Their wives, five grandchildren, and three grandchildren.