Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

R. Lee Ermey from 'Full Metal Jacket' dead at 74

R. Lee Ermey from 'Full Metal Jacket' dead at 74

Ronald Lee Ermey was himself a Marine for 11 years (who retired in 1971), a staff sergeant who served in Vietnam and Okinawa, Japan, and was later awarded the honorary rank of gunnery sergeant.

Ermey's manager, posting to the actor's Twitter account, said he died from "complications of pneumonia".

"He will probably be vastly missed by all of us", Rogin wrote.

"But Ermey's legacy extends far beyond his iconic roles".

What was R. Lee Ermey's cause of death?

"I used a quote of his from Full Metal Jacket for my senior year quote in high school, it's safe to say the yearbook committee didn't publish it".


"Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket fame was a hard and principled man", Rogin told Task & Purpose in a statement. It's actually the Riflemen's Creed. There are many Gunny's, but this one was ours.

"There are many Gunny's, but this one was OURS".

Ermey also did voice-over work for video games such as "Crash Bandicoot" and appeared as the voice of the drill instructor in "Call of Duty: Ghosts", from the immensely popular COD series.

His big breakthrough came with Full Metal Jacket, for which he was initially hired to train the actor cast as the drill sergeant before being given the role himself. Ermey first served in the aviation support field before becoming a drill instructor in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, which he was assigned to from 1965 to 1967 in San Diego.

The 1987 film's Sgt. Hartman's no-nonsense style was so memorable film audiences couldn't believe they were watching a novice actor. "And I love sunshine, I don't know about you". He also played track and field coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman in "Prefontaine", General Kramer in "Toy Soldiers" and Mayor Tilman in "Mississippi Burning". From 2002 to 2009, Ermey hosted the history channel series Mail Call, where he read and answered viewer questions regarding weapons, equipment, customs, and terminology used by the USA military now and in the past.

He also lent his voice to animated projects including "Toy Story", "Kim Possible", "The Simpsons", "Family Guy" and "SpongeBob Squarepants". This was a rarity for Kubrick, but everything from Ermey's undeniably original insults to his real life experiences proved to the auteur that he was the only man for the job.

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