R. Lee Ermey, a Golden Globe-nominated actor best known for his role as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, has passed on.
Ermey, 74 whose nickname was “The Gunny,” died Sunday morning from complications of pneumonia. The news was announced via his official twitter account by his longtime manager, Bill Rogin, who wrote:
“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.”
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‘s role as a military personnel was seen in a number of movies that contributed to his acting fame. He was also once a solider and served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a staff sergeant, an honorary gunnery sergeant and drill instructor for the Marines.
He also served 14 months in Vietnam and completed two tours in Okinawa, Japan.
After retiring from his military career with 11 years of service, Ermey decided to take on acting classes which landed him his first role in 1979’s Apocalypse Now movie where he played as an helicopter pilot and also serving as a technical adviser to director Francis Ford Coppola on the film.
He also took on another acting role as a Marine drill instructor in Sidney Furie’s The Boys in Company C, a 1978 film about US Marine recruits preparing for duty, and their subsequent combat in the Vietnam War.
A few years later, Lee Ermey landed his biggest acting role in Kubrick’s 1987 film Full Metal Jacket that brought him household recognition and critical acclaim; in addition to his Golden Globe nom, he also earned a best supporting actor award from the Boston Society of Film Critics.
His role in Full Metal Jacket gave cinema goers the best memories about him as a tough sergeant ushering out one of the most memorable lines in movie history which included:
“What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn’t mommy and daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?” and “I want that head so sanitary and squared away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in there and take a dump.”
The story goes that Ermey was originally hired to advise and train the actor who would play the role, but Kubrick was so impressed by what he saw, he offered Ermey the role.
He played a similar character in The Frighteners, which was directed by Peter Jackson and starred Michael J. Fox. He also featured in other films which include Mississippi Burning, Prefontaine, the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Fletch Lives and Se7en.
He also had a healthy voice-over career, playing the lead of the green plastic Army soldiers in the Toy Story films along with a role in Sponge Bob Square Pants, among others, and voice roles in multiple video games.
Ermey got a chance to showcase his comedy chops in 2001’s Saving Silverman, in which he starred alongside Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn, Jack Black and Amanda Peet.
Lee Ermey will always be remembered for his tenacious, talented and inspiring acting career. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project.
He is a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.