Joseph Clemens Ruby
March 30, 1933
|Died||August 26, 2020 (aged 87)|
|Occupation||Animator, writer, editor, television producer|
Joseph Clemens Ruby (March 30, 1933 – August 26, 2020) was an American animator, television editor, writer, and producer. He co-founded the television animation production company Ruby-Spears Productions, together with Ken Spears. They co-created the animated Scooby-Doo franchise beginning with Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! which debuted in September 1969 on CBS.
Ruby was born on March 30, 1933 in Los Angeles, the son of Canadian parents, Mildred Ruby (Fineberg) and Carl Ruby, a doctor. His family was Jewish. 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.
Ruby studied art and began his career in animation at Walt Disney Productions in the inbetweening department. He began as 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. He later worked for a short time in live-action television editing before moving to Hanna-Barbera Productions, where he met Ken Spears. 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, before leaving the studio due to a wish to become associate producers. They also worked as writers for Sid and Marty Krofft Television Productions and DePatie–Freleng Enterprises.
For Hanna-Barbera, Ruby and Spears created Scooby-Doo and the related characters. The concept began with Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! which debuted on CBS in September 1969. Their other series for the company were Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!, and Jabberjaw, among other programs. At DePatie–Freleng, they created The Barkleys and The Houndcats. In the early 1970s, CBS president of children's programming Fred 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.
Wanting to create competition for Hanna-Barbera, ABC set Ruby and Spears up with their own studio in 1977, as a subsidiary of Filmways. 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. 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.
Ruby died of natural causes at his home in Westlake Village, California on August 26, 2020, at the age of 87. His widow Carole specified that the cause of death was complications from a fall. Dan Haskett made a dedication poster for Ruby's contribution to Scooby-Doo five days after his death.
- "Joseph Clemens Ruby, Born 03/30/1933 in California | CaliforniaBirthIndex.org". www.californiabirthindex.org.
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- @WB_Animation (August 31, 2020). "Forever our pal, Joe Ruby" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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