Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ron Ely

Ron Ely was, at the peak of his fame, almost impossibly handsome. He had started out in small roles in major films and ended up co-starring with Jeremy Slate in THE AQUANAUTS by the early sixties. Filmmaker John Derek (later Bo's husband) gave Ely a showy role in his independent film, ONCE BEFORE I DIE in 1966, the same year he was to be cast as TV's Tarzan after Mike Henry, the most recent film ape man, passed on the series.

For a time, it was Ely's face on Tarzan merchandise, books and models.

The series ran two seasons with some good scripts, big name guest stars and its mostly naked star in the fan mags as he played a more erudite, intelligent Tarzan more in keeping with the actual character in the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Like many American TV stars of the sixties, Ron Ely ended up in Europe getting starring roles including this one as the spaghetti western preacher/gunfighter, Halleluja, originally played by George Hilton. 

He was back in the US for the title role in DOC SAVAGE, THE MAN OF BRONZE. Most fans and critics thought he was perfectly cast in the iconic role but few were impressed with the film itself. 

After Doc's lack of box office success, Ron Ely returned to the guest star route before re-inventing himself as a TV gameshow host. Around that same time, he did two years of hosting the post-Bert Parks MISS AMERICA PAGEANT.

SLAVERS was a little-known starring role for the hunky star, fronting a major international cast in a drama that was just a bit above the exploitation level. 

In the mid-eighties, he returned to his AQUANAUTS roots on TV as the star of a short-lived remake of Lloyd Bridges' classic SEA HUNT. 

Starting today, August 9th, and lasting through Saturday the 11th, you can meet Ron Ely yourself at the 2012 MID-ATLANTIC NOSTALGIA CONVENTION in Maryland. Go here for details. Quick!



  1. I have always wondered what happened to Mr. Ely. When I was fourteen I stood right next to him at LA Airport as he kissed some pretty lady goodbye as she left on a trip. I think she might be have been a stewardess. I was in awe of how tall he was. Hopefully, his life has been filled with peace since this chance encounter.

    Shirley Patterson-Wallace

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