Woman Killed and Murder Suspect Shot Dead at Home of 1960s 'Tarzan' Actor Ron Ely

An elderly woman was reportedly found dead Tuesday night at the California home of former Tarzan actor Ron Ely, NBC News reports. Police reportedly responded to a family disturbance call and discovered the woman's body at about 8:15 p.m. local time. A suspect was later killed in an officer-involved shooting.

ron-ely-tarzan_getty-Silver Screen Collection : Contributor
(Photo: Silver Screen Collection / Contributor, Getty)

The identities of the suspect and the woman have not been released. Ely, 81, who is best known for his titular role in the NBC series Tarzan, was not injured. It's unclear if Ely was at his Santa Barbara home at the time or if he was involved, according to local reports.

Some reports say the elderly woman had been shot, while others said stabbed. It was not clear how she was connected to the actor. Neighbors were told to stay in their homes and lock their doors while authorities searched for the suspect, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Local news crews captured the sound of gunfire during the dispute upon the arrival of Santa Barbara police.

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

He added that the deputies in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave.

THR reports that the suspect was found hiding in the same home as the victim. Raney told the publication that when deputies approached the unidentified man, he allegedly threatened them with a weapon and was fatally shot.

An elderly man was later taken to a hospital for an evaluation, but it was not clear if it was Ely.

ron-ely_getty-Bobby Bank : Contributor
(Photo: Bobby Bank / Contributor, Getty)

As well as playing Tarzan from 1966 to 1968, Ely starred in Fantasy Island as well as the 1975 movie Doc Savage: The Man of Iron and Bronze. He also hosted the Miss America pageant in the 1980s.


Following his retirement in 2001, Ely returned to the industry for one more role in the 2014 made for TV movie Expecting Amish, opposite Jesse McCartney and Disney Channel alums Alyson Stoner and AJ Michalka.

Ely is married to former Miss Florida, Valerie Lundeen. They share three children: Kirsten, Kaitland and Cameron.