Actor R. Lee Ermey, famous for his role in Full Metal Jacket, passed away on the morning of April 15, at the age of 74. Ermey’s death was announced on Twitter by his longtime manager.
The actor, nicknamed “The Gunny”, passed away from complications of pneumonia. Ermey was best known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 action film, Full Metal Jacket. He even received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his aforementioned role.
Ermey joined the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17, where he served as a staff sergeant, an honorary gun sergeant, and a drill instructor. Due to his real life association with the military, he was often typecast in such roles on the big screen.
Gunnery sergeant’s first film was Apocalypse Now, in which he played a First Air Cavalry chopper pilot. He was also a technical advisor to director Francis Ford Coppola in that particular movie.
Stanley Kubrick, director and producer of Full Metal Jacket, spoke highly of Ermey; he indicated that he needed less than a handful of takes per scene. After his 1987 role in Kubrick’s film, Ermey went on to add 60 more film credits to his name. He even appeared in two Texas Chainsaw Massacre films.
Moreover, he lent his voice to multiple animated films such as the Toy Story trilogy, Kim Possible and SpongeBob SquarePants. He also hosted a few documentaries, including one for History Channel about weapons used in the military, titled “Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey“.
Ermey had also expanded his career to the world of video games, by lending his voice to several military games including Call of Duty: Ghosts. He also appeared in several commercials for products like knives, apparel and sporting goods.
Ermey was also the co-founder of the Bravery Brewery in Lancaster, California. He married his wife, Nila Ermey in 1975 and had four children with her.