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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

Famous People from Potter County Texas

Ron Ely

Ron Ely was born in Hereford Texas on June 21, 1938. He was raised in Amarillo where he attended Amarillo High School. He attended The University of Texas at Austin in mid-1950s and was in ROTC.

Best known for his portrayal of Tarzan in the 1966 NBC TV series where he refused to use a stunt double in his vine-swinging or animal fights and was often injured. He payed title role in the film Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze in 1975, as well as various guest shots. He was in five episodes of the series Fantasy Island; in one, in 1978,

Now retired from acting, Ely is a successful novelist and has written two mystery novels featuring private eye Jake Sands: Night Shadows and East Beach.

 

On October 16, 2019 tragedy struck the Ely family when the former "Tarzan" actor's wife, Valerie Lundeen Ely was found dead of multiple stab wounds in the couple's Santa Barbara home. Deputies responding to a domestic disturbance call found Ron Ely's son, Cameron Ely while searching the property. According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Cameron posed a threat to the deputies and they opened fire, killing 30-year old Cameron Ely.

 

An investigation found that Cameron, 30, stabbed his mother, 62-year-old Valerie Lundeen Ely, to death before he was shot outside his father’s home in Hope Ranch, a suburb of luxury homes outside Santa Barbara, California.

 

In September 2020 82-year-old Ron Ely filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and four of its deputies in the wake of the incident last year.

 

On October 15, 2020 Ron Ely and his family contested the findings of the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, which ruled that the fatal shooting of Cameron Ely by sheriff’s deputies last year was a justifiable homicide. They contend Cameron Ely presented no threat when he was gunned down by deputies, and that he and Valerie Ely were denied timely medical attention.

 

Lawyers representing the family  presented “new evidence that Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies engaged in the unjustified use of deadly force and denial of medical care, resulting in the deaths of Ely’s wife and son.”

Resources:

Books About and by Ron Ely (Amazon)

Ron Ely TV and Movies (Amazon)

Amarillo History, And Memories (Facebook)

Old Texas Panhandle (Facebook)

Post Cards From The Panhandle (Facebook)

 

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