What Was Karen Velez Majors, Lee Majors’ ex’s Cause of Death?

By RahulPublished on: March 22, 2024 Updated on: May 7, 2024
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Karen Velez Majors, the ex-wife of famed actor Lee Majors, known for his roles in iconic television shows like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy, passed away on June 2nd, 2023, at her home in Downey, California. She was 62 years old. The news brought sadness to many who knew her personally and the fans who followed her throughout her Playboy career.

After her death, a lot of people began asking, how did Karen die? But the Majors and Velez family chose not to publicly disclose the cause of Karen’s death. What’s more, Lee didn’t even share the news of her death, which is rather odd, considering how they divorced amicably.

Although not confirmed, a source revealed she succumbed to complications arising from the flu. A typically manageable illness, Flu can become severe and even fatal if not treated properly, especially in individuals with pre-existing health conditions or weakened immune systems.

After her death, many of her well-wishers and admirers expressed their sorrow and paid their respects to the obituary published in her honor. Among the numerous messages of sympathy and remembrance, a significant tribute came from Arny Freytag. Arny captured Karen’s centerfold for her Playboy Playmate of the Month feature in December 1984, which eventually throttled her to fame.

Let’s find out some interesting facts about Karen.

Her Grandma Asked Her To Try out for Playboy

Karen was born into a Puerto Rican family in Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York. Later, her family moved to Miami, Florida, where she continued her upbringing under the diverse cultural landscape of the state.

Her family, embodying an open and supportive nature played a significant role in her life choices. Notably, it was her grandmother who encouraged her to try out for Playboy magazine.

The late Karen enjoyed life with her grandson, Shane.
The late Karen enjoyed life with her grandson, Shane. Source: Facebook

She attended North Miami Senior High School. Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, her heritage played a significant role in shaping her perspectives. Karen had a sister, Lisa.

She Posed for Playboy to Confront Her Body Insecurities

Velez, known for being the first Puerto Rican Playboy Playmate, was surprised and honored to become Playmate of the Year. Her journey to posing for Playboy was about confronting her insecurities about her appearance.

She reflected,

One of the reasons I posed for Playboy was to see if I was really as insecure about my looks as I thought I was.

Karen initially captured attention as Miss December 1984, which led to her fame as Miss 1985. Despite being known for her Playboy legacy, Karen insisted she was not a show-off but a model who wanted to celebrate her body before having children. She dreamed of a big family.

Her Ex-Husband Lee Didn’t Know She was a Playmate

In an interview with the Playboy mag, Lee Majors reflected on their first encounter noting in 1984, “When I met Karen, I didn’t know she was a Playmate. She had on baggy clothes, and I just remember that she was nice.”

Their initial meeting sparked a connection leading to their marriage four years later, on November 15th, 1988. Afterward, Lee made the significant move to Karen’s hometown in Florida. From their relationship, they welcomed three children, daughter Nikki Loren, and twin sons, Dane Luke & Trey Kulley.

Despite the strong start and shared life experiences, Karen and Lee’s journey as a couple concluded in 1994. Their spokesman at the time, Paul Bloch said, “It is a very amicable divorce.”

After separating from Lee, it was reported she was married to Vic Ventimiglia Jr. from 1999 to 2004. However, this information is incorrect. The confusion likely stemmed from the fact that Vic Ventimiglia Jr. was indeed married to a woman named Karen, but not Velez.

What we know for a fact is that Velez had a partner, whose identity she never disclosed.

Karen (left) with grandson (middle) and her partner. Source: Facebook
Karen (left) with grandson (middle) and her partner. Source: Facebook

Her Daughter Followed Suit and Appeared in Playboy

A mother of three, Karen Velez influence continued through her daughter, Nikki, 36, who also entered the Playboy world. She posed for the Playboy’s Playmate Daughter feature. Additionally, she also tried her hands in acting, featuring in movies including, P.S.I. Luv U (1991).

Karen wearing sunglasses and Trey in blue shirt.
Karen and her son Trey. Source: Facebook

Lee and Karen also share twin sons, Dane and Trey, 31. Trey has pursued a career in modeling, while Dane has acted in movies and TV shows. Both sons have found their own paths in the entertainment world.

Profile Summary

Date of Birth: January 27th, 1961

Ethnicity: Puerto Rican

Net Worth: $500,000

About Author: Rahul

Rahul has been diving into the world of entertainment in niches like celebrity, anime, and health articles since 2016. As a passionate writer, he combines personal experiences with thorough research to create content that's not only informative but also relatable and engaging.