'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely's wife stabbed to death by son in California home, suspect killed by responding deputies

'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely's wife stabbed to death by son in California home, suspect killed by responding deputies
Ron Ely (Source : Getty Images)

UPDATE: 6:55 p.m. ET -- A statement by Santa Barbara County Sheriff revealed Tuesday night 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely's son stabbed his mother Valerie Lundeen Ely to death. Deputies responding to a 911 call found Valerie, 62, dead with multiple stab wounds.

Deputies found the couple's son, 30-year-old Cameron Ely, outside their Southern California home and fatally shot him. Authorities said Cameron posed an unspecified threat to the deputies, four of whom opened fire and killed him.

Autopsies of both bodies were pending and NBC reported that the department was conducting criminal, coroner's and administrative investigations surrounding the incident.

Original story

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA: The woman found dead at 'Tarzan' actor Ron Ely's home in Hope Ranch was identified to be his wife, Valerie Lundeen, according to a source who spoke to a family member. 


The Santa Barbara Police Department is investigating a homicide and a related shooting involving a deputy that took place Tuesday, October 15. The incident occurred at Ely's home in Hope Ranch which is an unincorporated area in Santa Barbara County.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's department confirmed deputies killed a suspect involved in a woman's death but declined to identify the two. Authorities were dispatched to the 4100 block of Mariposa Drive around 8 pm to investigate a domestic dispute, the sheriff's office revealed. 

As reported by Fox 11, an elderly woman was found dead inside the ranch by deputies. It was also reported by NBC Los Angeles that the elderly woman had been fatally shot. A shelter-in-place order was sent out to nearby residents.


Deputies had been searching the property when they met the suspect who deputies had deemed a threat. The suspect was reportedly killed during a deputy-involved shooting at the home. A KKFX reporter claimed to have heard over a dozen shots.

The authorities also revealed that no deputies were injured during the incident. According to Lt. Erik Raney of the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office, the suspect was armed and presented a threat which led to the police opening fire on the suspect. 

An elderly man was found inside the house though it is not known whether it was actor Ron Ely who had played Tarzan in the 1966 TV series 'Tarzan'. Ely also had guest roles in shows such as 'The Love Boat', 'Wonder Woman', and 'Sea Hunt' in the 1980s. 

He had also hosted the Miss America pageant in 1980 and 1981. He retired from acting in 2001 though he did one role on TV in 2014. Ely's relationship to the victim or connection with the suspect has not been established or made clear.


The investigation is currently ongoing and officers have released no further information regarding the case. 

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 Woman shot death Tarzan actor Ron Ely California home suspect killed by responding deputies