Ken Spears, the creator of Scooby-Doo and several other animated television programs, has passed away due to complications related to dementia.
Ken Spears, the creator of Scooby-Doo, died this past Friday at the age of 82. In his life, Spears set the precedent for one of the most impactful Hanna-Barbera television series of all time. His original Scooby-Doo show has had numerous film adaptations and has been rebooted for television ten different times.
Spears was one half of Ruby-Spears productions, an animation company that was bought in 1981 by the parent company of Hanna-Barbera, Taft Entertainment. Together with the other co-founder of Ruby-Spears, Joe Ruby, Spears brought a number of animated children’s shows to life, including Superman, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Thundarr the Barbarian. However, Spears’ most well-known work was, of course, the mystery adventure series Scooby-Doo. The four meddling kids and one hungry dog of Mystery Inc. came to life in 1969, pioneering the iconic “monster of the week” television structure that has since become the basis of comparison for several other television series. Scooby-Doo is beloved by both children and adults alike, and these viewers have Spears to thank for this creation.
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Variety reports that Spears passed away due to complications from Lewy body dementia. His son, Kevin Spears, gave a statement on Ken Spears’ legacy and talent. He spoke to how Spears was a role model both in his career and his personal life. “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,” Kevin Spears states. Spears was born in 1938 and spent his life in Los Angeles, forming a career in children’s entertainment. He is survived by his two sons Kevin and Chris, as well as his five grandchildren and his three great-grandchildren.
Spears’ most popular series Scooby-Doo has had a profound impact on the children’s entertainment space and will continue to do so after his death. As previously mentioned, a number of Scooby-Doo films and television shows have been made since the conclusion of the original series, including most recently a 3D-animated film, Scoob!. The works of Spears have also had a cultural impact on film and television as a whole, with several films paying homage to Scooby-Doo in their design.
Clearly, Spears will not be forgotten as an important writer and animator in the children’s television industry. Mystery Inc. has been a favorite series of children since its creation in 1969, and Scooby himself remains the face of Hanna-Barbera to this day. The impact his shows have had on generations of children is long-lasting, and Scooby-Doo will continue to delight audiences for years to come.
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