Tarzan"actor Ron Ely's wife was stabbed to death in their Southern California home by their son, who deputies found outside the house and fatally shot, authorities said.

Valerie Lundeen, a former Miss Florida, was found stabbed to death at the couple's Santa Barbara property on Tuesday night (local time), according to TMZ police sources.

A 911 call after 8pm (local time) reported a family disturbance involving the couple's son.

Tarzan actor Ron Ely, second from left, with wife Valerie, second from right, and kids Cameron (left), Kaitland, (third from right) and Kirsten, as well as son-in-law, Jason. Photo / Facebook
Tarzan actor Ron Ely, second from left, with wife Valerie, second from right, and kids Cameron (left), Kaitland, (third from right) and Kirsten, as well as son-in-law, Jason. Photo / Facebook

The deputies identified the couple's son, 30-year-old Cameron Ely, as the suspect, and found him outside the home after a search, the statement said.

Advertisement

Cameron Ely posed an unspecified threat to deputies, four of whom opened fire and killed him, authorities said.

"We don't know exactly how many shots were fired. We did have several deputies that were involved in the shooting," Lieutenant Erik Raney told KEYT. "Fortunately all of our deputies are OK."

Actor Ely has been reported as safe by the Santa Barbara Sheriff's department.

Lundeen and Ely had been married for 35 years and have three children together, Kirsten, Kaitland and Cameron.

Ron Ely retired from acting in 2001 but returned to play one more role in 2014. Photo / AP
Ron Ely retired from acting in 2001 but returned to play one more role in 2014. Photo / AP

In audio obtained by TMZ, a first responder spoke to an "elderly gentleman" who claimed his son was involved.

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

The tall, muscle-bound 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.

Ron Ely as Tarzan.
Ron Ely as Tarzan.

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.
- additional reporting AP

Advertisement