Golden Globe nominee R. Lee Ermey, best known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, passed away on April 15, 2018 at the age of 74. Ermey’s long-time manager, Bill Rogin, confirmed his passing in a statement saying: “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.”
Ronald Lee Ermey was born on March 24, 1944 and grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. When he was 17, Ermey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. After serving 11 years, including a 14-month stint in Vietnam, Ermey was medically discharged in 1972. In addition to a small role as a helicopter pilot, Ermey doubled as a technical adviser for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now. This role led to Ermey’s casting in Sidney Furie’s The Boys In Company C as a Marine drill instructor. Following a series of minor film roles, Ermey joined Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket as the now iconic drill instructor Hartman. This performance earned Ermey a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Similar to his character in Full Metal Jacket, Ermey later played a drill instructor on Space: Above and Beyond and the The Frighteners. He later appeared in 60 films, including Purple Hearts, Mississippi Burning, The Siege of Firebase Gloria, Dead Man Walking, Se7en, Fletch Lives, Leaving Las Vegas, Man of the House, X-Men 3, Toy Soldiers, and The Salton Sea. He also lended his voice to animated series including The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Roughnecks, Kim Possible, The Simpsons, Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, My Life as a Teenage Robot, and Invader Zim.
Aside from his extensive film work, Ermey also made appearances on such television shows as Miami Vice, House, Scrubs, Tales from the Crypt, The X-Files, Mail Call, Human Target, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. He also hosted the History Channel show Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey, as well as the Outdoor Channel show GunnyTime.