Wife of ‘Tarzan’ Actor Killed by Son Inside California Home: Police

Pilar Melendez
APU GOMES/AFP/Getty Images

The wife of Tarzan star Ron Ely was fatally stabbed by the couple’s 30-year-old son inside their California home Tuesday night, authorities said.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said officers responded to a call about a family dispute at the 81-year-old actor’s home in Hope Ranch, Calif., at about 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday night.

When deputies entered the home, they discovered the body of 62-year-old Valerie Lundeen Ely, who’d suffered “multiple stab wounds,” a sheriff’s office spokesperson said Wednesday.

Ron Ely, who portrayed Tarzan in the TV series in the ’60s, was not injured and “is alive and well,” authorities said.

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The sheriff’s office said that while at the scene, deputies identified the suspect as the couple’s son, 30-year-old Cameron Ely, who attended Harvard University, where he was a quarterback on the school’s football team.

“We had initially called in the air support unit and neighboring law enforcement agencies to come help in the search and when we were able to locate the suspect on the property of the homicide, and after the confrontation, we lifted the shelter in place,” Santa Barbara Sheriff Lt. Erik Raney told KEYT.  “We don’t believe there is any further threat to the public.”

The 30-year-old son “posed a threat” when he was located on the property and was fatally shot during an encounter with the four responding officers.

“Fortunately all of our deputies are OK,” Raney said.

The sheriff’s office said Wednesday they are “conducting criminal, coroner’s and administrative investigations” into the incident. The Santa Barbara County Coroner confirmed it has received the bodies of the 62-year-old and her son, and autopsies are pending.

Lundeen Ely, a mother of three, was crowned Miss Florida USA in 1981. Later that year, she competed at the Miss USA beauty pageant, which was hosted by her future husband.

A representative for Ely, who starred in NBC’s 57-episode Tarzan show from 1966 to 1968, did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

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