Scooby-Doo and the gang of Mystery, Inc. have lost another “parent”.
It was just this August when Horror News Network reported the sad news of the passing of Joe Ruby–the cartoon canine’s other creator–and this week we learned of the passing of Ken Spears at the age of 82, as reported by Variety. To so many, the eerie adventures of Scooby-Doo and his friends served as an introduction to humor-tinged horror.
A statement from Spears’ son Kevin revealed that the legendary animator passed away from complications stemming from Lewy body dementia.
“Ken will forever be remembered for his wit, his storytelling, his loyalty to his family and his strong work ethic,” Kevin Spears said. “Ken has not only made a lasting impression on his family, but he has touched the lives of so many as co-creator of Scooby-Doo.”
Spears, who grew up in Los Angeles, became close friends with the son of William Hanna and eventually joined the sound editing department of Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1959. That was where he met Joe Ruby–and the rest falls into the category of animation history.
The writing team gave birth to Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred–as well as such memorable features as Dog Wonder and Dynomutt–and then moved on to establish Ruby-Spears Productions in 1977. That group created or rebooted such classics as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Fangface and Thundarr the Barbarian.
Horror-themed animation was a big part of Spears’ legacy. The most recent terror tale for Scoob and the gang was this season’s Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!, which came on the heels of such horror hits as Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire (2003), Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) and Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy (2014).
Ruby-Spears Productions also was responsible for the animated sequence in the 1988 horror classic Child’s Play, the film that introduced the world to the demonic doll Chucky.
Spears is survived by his sons Kevin and Chris, their wives, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
The staff of Horror News Network extends its condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.