Ronald Pierce Ely was born on June 21, 1938 in Hereford, Texas. Ely won the role of Tarzan in 1966 after playing various bit-parts, including an airplane navigator in the 1958 film “South Pacific” and a guest-starring role on Barbara Eden's first television series, the romantic comedy “How to Marry a Millionaire”. Ely's height (6' 4") and athletic build also won him the title role in the 1975 film “Doc Savage”, as well as various guest shots. In a 1978 ‘Fantasy Island’ episode, for example, Ely portrayed Mark Antony in a Roman military short tunic and breastplate that displayed almost as much of his physique as his Tarzan costume had. Also during the early 1970s Ely travelled to Europe appearing in two Euo-westerns: “Alleluia and Sartana, Sons of God” and “Cry of the Black Wolves” (both 1972)
From 1960-61, Ely starred in the TV series ‘The Aquanauts’. In the 1980s, Ely hosted the musical game show ‘Face the Music’. Additionally, Ely hosted the 1980 and 1981 ‘Miss America Pageants’, replacing longtime host Bert Parks. He replaced Lloyd Bridges as "Mike Nelson" in the last season of TV’s ‘Sea Hunt’, from 1987-1988.
In the 1990s, Ely’s roles included a retired Superman from an alternate reality in the 1991 two-part episode ‘The Road to Hell’ of the ‘Superboy’ syndicated TV series, and a big game hunter named Gordon Shaw in the 1992 episode ‘Tarzan the Hunted’ of the syndicated Tarzán TV series (starring Wolf Larson).
Until about 2001, Ely made appearances on popular TV shows, his most recent being ‘Sheena’ and ‘Renegade’. He is now retired from acting.
In recent years Ely has embarked on a successful writing career and has penned two mystery novels featuring private eye Jake Sands: Night Shadows (1994) and East Beach (1995).
Today we celebrate Ron Ely’s 75th birthday.