LOS ANGELES — US actor and retired Marine R. Lee Ermey, best known for his role as foul-mouthed Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, has died, his manager said Sunday. He was 74.
Manager Bill Rogin said the Golden Globe nominee Ermey died from complications of pneumonia. “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 said in a statement on Twitter. “He will be greatly missed by all of us. Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed,” he wrote, referencing the motto of the United States Marines Corps, in which Ermey served from 1961 to 1971 when he was medically discharged. Ermey, who served in Vietnam, is best remembered as the foul-mouthed drill sergeant in Kubrick’s 1987 film, who tried to turn “maggot” recruits like Joker, played by Matthew Modine, into combat-ready Marines. He was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor for the role. Born in Emporia, Kansas in 1944, Ermey bagged his first acting role while studying drama at the University of Manila in the Philippines, landing a part as a helicopter pilot in Apocalypse Now (1979). He went on to appear in some 60 films, often in military-related roles. Ermey also lent his voice to the likes of the Toy Story films as the gung ho plastic soldier Sarge, and The Simpsons. A board member of the powerful National Rifle Association, Ermey also hosted weapons-related TV shows such as the History Channel’s Lock n’ Load with R. Lee Ermey and GunnyTime with R. Lee Ermey on the Outdoor Channel. — AFP/Reuters