‘Tarzan’ actor Ron Ely’s wife stabbed to death by son

Crime

FILE – This Dec. 28, 1987 file photo shows former “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely during an interview in Los Angeles. A woman was killed at Ely’s Southern California home and sheriff’s deputies fatally shot a suspect on the property, authorities said Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s office statement does not identify any of those involved but notes that a disabled elderly man living at the home was taken to a hospital for evaluation. The deaths occurred Tuesday night in Hope Ranch, a suburb of luxury homes outside Santa Barbara. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) – Authorities say “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely’s wife was stabbed to death in their Southern California home by the couple’s son, who police subsequently shot to death.

A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s statement Wednesday said deputies found 62-year-old Valerie Lundeen Ely dead with multiple stab wounds inside the house on Tuesday night.

The statement says deputies identified the suspect as the couple’s son, 30-year-old Cameron Ely, who was found outside the house after a search.

Authorities say after an unspecified threat, four deputies fired on Cameron Ely and he was killed.

There was no report of the 81-year-old Ron Ely being injured. An earlier sheriff’s statements said an elderly man from the home was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Ron Ely starred in a “Tarzan” TV series on NBC from 1966 to 1968.

The 81-year-old Ely played the title character on the NBC series “Tarzan,” which ran from 1966 to 1968.

The tall, musclebound Ely was not quite as well-known as Johnny Weismuller, the Olympic swimmer who played the role in movies in the 1930s and 40s, but formed the image of the shirtless, loincloth-wearing character remembered by many in the baby-boom generation. Tarzan was a fictional character raised in the African jungle.

Ely also played the title character in the 1975 action film “Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze,” but otherwise had mostly small roles in TV and films including the 1958 movie musical “South Pacific.”

Ely was host of the Miss America pageant in 1980 and 1981 and married a former Miss Florida, Valerie Lundeen, with whom he had three children.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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