Wife of former ‘Tarzan’ actor Ron Ely killed by son, authorities say

Ron Ely as Tarzan
Actor Ron Ely plays the title role in an episode of the TV series “Tarzan,” circa 1967.
(Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images)

The wife of former “Tarzan” actor Ron Ely was killed at the couple’s Santa Barbara County home, and authorities say sheriff’s deputies fatally shot the suspect — their son.

According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a 911 call about a family disturbance at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday in the community of Hope Ranch. Inside the home, deputies contacted Ron Ely and found his wife, Valerie Lundeen Ely, 62, dead with multiple stab wounds. Deputies identified the suspect as the Elys’ son, 30-year-old Cameron Ely, and found him on the property outside the home.

Four deputies determined that Cameron Ely posed a threat and opened fire, fatally wounding him. The threat was unspecified.


No deputies were injured in the confrontation.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating. The names of the deputies involved have not been released.

Cameron Ely attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and went on to Harvard University in 2007 where he played quarterback for the football team. Records show that he was licensed as a security guard the past two years.

Valerie Lundeen Ely was a former beauty pageant queen who was Miss Florida in 1981. She and Ron Ely had three children together.

Ron Ely, 81, starred in a 1960s TV version of the Tarzan story.

Associated Press contributed to this report.