R. Lee Ermey, the Marine Corps sergeant-turned-actor famous for his role in Full Metal Jacket has died at the age of 74 from complications of pneumonia.
Ermey's long-time manager Bill Rogin shared the sad news on Twitter. Rogin said the actor died on Sunday.
Statement from R. Lee Ermey's long time manager, Bill Rogin: It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey ("The Gunny") passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us. Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed. pic.twitter.com/vf4O78JKmb — R. Lee Ermey (@RLeeErmey) April 15, 2018
Ermey listed in the Marine Corps at the age of 17 and became a staff sergeant who also served as a drill instructor. He spent a year and two months in Vietnam from 1968 and was released from active military duty due to medical reasons in 1972.
Ermey often played police or military characters in movies and television. He got his first movie stint as a First Air Cavalry chopper pilot in the 1979 Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now while he was still a student at the University of Manila in the Philippines. He also served as a technical adviser to filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.
However, he got his major break in the cinema when Stanley Kubrick cast him as the foul-mouthed Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Kubrick said at the time that 50 percent of the insulting dialogues were all Ermey's improvisation. He came up with about 150 pages of insults.
The role made an impression on viewers, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination and paved way for more film opportunities. Ermey appeared in over 60 films in his lifetime. He was a cast in Se7en, Mississippi Burning, and Leaving Las Vegas.
Voice Credits And Shows
Ermey also lent his voice as the plastic toy soldiers' leader in Toy Story. Other voice credits include The Simpsons, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Family Guy, and SpongeBob SquarePants.
Aside from acting, the 74-year-old Kansas native also hosted a couple of programs. These include Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, where he talked about the development of the different types of weapons, and the History Channel show Mail Call, in which he provided his knowledge about modern and historic military issues.
Prior to his death, Ermey had not appeared in movies in five years and he said it was because of the liberals in Hollywood. They allegedly blackballed him over his political views when they found out that he is a conservative.
Hollywood actors have posted their tribute online following news of Ermey's death. Actor Vincent D'Onofrio said he was the "real deal" and Donald Trump Jr. called him a "legend and a great American." The U.S. Army also bid farewell to the actor and thanked him for his service to the country.
.@RLeeErmey passed away at the age of 74. Rest In Peace, Gunny. We are grateful for your service to our country and for supporting our servicemembers. Semper Fi pic.twitter.com/iQq9Us7aFw — U.S. Army (@USArmy) April 16, 2018
Ermey was the real deal. The knowledge of him passing brings back wonderful memories of our time together. @RLeeErmey @StanleyKubrick @FMJDiary @MatthewModine @AdamBaldwin pic.twitter.com/XgsItiMqCP — Vincent D'Onofrio (@vincentdonofrio) April 16, 2018
Well today we lost a legend and a great American. I am proud to have had R. Lee Ermey as a friend and shooting teammate. If you thought he was motivating in Full Metal Jacket you should have seen him on the firing line when points mattered. I’ll never forget those moments just not sure I can relay them fully here... just take my word for it LEGENDARY!!! (I wish I filmed his reaction to me bringing a pink gun to shoot in a match see pic 2. He was having none of my “it takes a real man to shoot a pink gun” line. I made it just for that response and he did not disappoint.) They unfortunately don’t make many like him these days. Thanks for your friendship sir. Rest In Peace Gunny!!! #gunny #ermey #rip #semperfi A post shared by Donald Trump Jr. (@donaldjtrumpjr) on Apr 15, 2018 at 3:54pm PDT