'Wife of former Tarzan star killed at home' before suspect shot dead by police

The wife of former Tarzan actor Ron Ely has reportedly been stabbed to death at their California home before police fatally shot a suspect on the property.

A Santa Barbara County sheriff's office statement did not identify any of those involved but noted that a disabled elderly man living at the home, understood to be 81-year-old Ely, was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Law enforcement sources have confirmed to TMZ the victim was Ely’s 62-year-old wife Valerie Lundeen.

The deaths occurred on Tuesday night (local time) in Hope Ranch, a suburb of luxury homes outside Santa Barbara.

Ron Ely pictured with his wife Valerie Lundeen (left), and Ely during his Tarzan days (right). Source: Facebook/ Getty

A call to emergency services after 8pm reported a family disturbance and deputies found a woman who was the victim of an apparent homicide, authorities said.

Deputies shot and killed a suspect they found on the property in response to an unspecified threat, the sheriff's statement said.

Lieutenant Erik Raney of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office told CNN Ely said a relative was involved in the death.

Ely played the title character on the NBC series Tarzan, which ran from 1966 to 1968.

Ely pictured in 2012. Source; Getty

The tall, musclebound 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.

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 and married Lundeen, a former Miss Florida, several years later.

The couple had three children together.

With AP

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