Valerie Lundeen, the wife of actor Ron Ely, has been reported to be the victim of a homicide at the former Tarzan star’s home.
The murder suspect is said to have been shot dead by police after officers were called to the property at Hope Ranch residential community in Santa Barbara, California, over what was described as a “family disturbance”.
Ron Ely was said to be safe and alive following the incident. Although it had not been officially confirmed at the time of writing, sources told the Daily Mail that Lundeen was the victim.
Who is Valerie Lundeen?
Lundeen is a former Miss Florida USA, taking the title in 1981. The couple had been married for 35 years and she and Ely had three children together, Kirsten, Kaitland, and Cameron.
Before meeting Lundeen, Ely was married to his first wife Cathy, with whom he tied the knot in 1959 before the couple separated in 1961. He found his biggest success five years later, starring in the 1966 series Tarzan, and continued to be in the limelight throughout the seventies and early 80s.
He and Lundeen tied the knot in 1984 and were often pictured together throughout the 80s and 90s, but she had lived a relatively private life in recent years. However, she sometimes featured in photos on her children’s social media pages, as below in posts by daughter Kirsten from 2016.
In another post from the same year, Kirsten thanked her mom for “teaching me to take care of myself inside + outside”. She wrote, “I am thirty. She is almost sixty. Half her age. Lucky to be almost half the woman she is. mother. mama. mother earth. mama moon. my own personal goddess.
“Thank you for teaching me to take care of myself inside (self-love! #thefutureisfemale) + outside (your skincare routine has become mine… thank you for the secrets!).
“One of my purposes in life is to continue down the path that you have started… that you have forged… and to find new uncharted territory.
“Thank you, momma. And her momma (love you, Maggie). And Maggie’s momma (thank you, Nahmama). Thank you for this legacy of women… I hope to make you all proud.
You can see a handwritten letter by Valerie here thanking comedienne Phillis Diller for the wedding present she gave them, a copy of her Marriage Manual book. The envelope containing the letter was postmarked Laguna Del Rey, California, February 13, 1984.
Lundeen and Ely previously lived at his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, but the couple sold the property on Casale Road in 1987.
According to Lt. Erik Raney of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, Lundeen was stabbed to death. At the time of writing, it was not known if Ely was at home at the time of the murder.