IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Son of 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely allegedly killed mother before police shot him dead

Ely, who portrayed Tarzan in the TV series in the 1960s, was not hurt, a sheriff's office spokesman said.
/ Source: NBC News

The wife of "Tarzan" actor Ron Ely was found dead at their California home Tuesday evening after being attacked by the couple's son, according to officials.

Police arrived to the home after Ron Ely, 81, found his wife, Valerie Lundeen Ely, 62, with multiple stab wounds, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. When deputies arrived on scene, they found the couple's 30 year old son Cameron Ely in the area and identified him as a suspect.

"He posed a threat and in response, 4 deputies fired their service weapons at the suspect, fatally wounding him," officials said in a release Wednesday.

Ron Ely was not injured, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Lt. Erik Raney said.

Rob Ely waves in a shot from the set of "Tarzan" in the late 1960s.Courtesy Everett Collection

Ely is best known for his role in "Tarzan," the TV series which aired on NBC between 1966-68.

Tarzan was a fictional character raised by apes in the African jungle, from a 1914 book by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Ely also played the lead role in the 1975 film "Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze."

Lundeen was a former Miss Florida.

The couple also have two daughters, Kirsten and Kaitland.

According to U.S. media, Cameron Ely attended the elite Philips Exeter Academy boarding school in New Hampshire, before going to Harvard University.

Ron Ely and family attend Second Annual Toys for Tots Benefit on December 19, 1992 at Hancock Park in Los Angeles, California.Ron Galella, Ltd. / Getty Images

Ron Ely took a break from showbiz from 2001 to 2014 before he returned to the small screen to play an Amish elder in the Lifetime movie "Expecting Amish."

He told the Charlotte Observer when the film came out he "stepped out of acting to raise a family and be able to spend more time with them" at home in Santa Barbara.

"Now, all the kids are through college with advance degrees," he said at the time.

Ron Ely, his wife Valerie Lundeen and Joe Lacovetta attend Third Annual Cathy's Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic on June 25, 1977 at Billy Jean King Tennis Stadium at Forest Hills in New York City.Ron Galella / Getty Images

The actor was also a novelist, penning two action thrillers, "Night Shadows," in 1994 and "East Beach," a year later.

A representative for Ely did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

The home is listed for sale on multiple real estate sites at $4.9 million.