R. Lee Ermey, the Marine Corps sergeant-turned-actor famous for his role in Full Metal Jacket has died at the age of 74 from complications of pneumonia. According to his manager and others close to him, Ermey was a "family man with a kind and gentle soul" and a person who cared deeply for others.
Born Ronald Lee Ermey in 1944, Ermey served 11 years in the Marine Corps and spent 14 months in Vietnam and then in Okinawa, Japan, where he became staff sergeant.
After being medically discharged as an E-6 after in 1972 after a tour in Vietnam, Ermey reportedly struggled with his transition to civilian life. Beginning in 1961, Ermey served for about ten years before retiring on a medical disability. He had a number of small roles before landing the role in 1987's "Full Metal Jacket".
Ermey was originally meant to function only as a technical adviser to Kubrick, but when Kubrick was impressed by an instructional tape Ermey put together in which he went on long rants at extras, he instead cast him in the role of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.
In a post on Facebook - since made inaccessible - his manager Bill Rogin said: "It is extremely hard to truly quantify all of the great things this man has selflessly done for, and on behalf of, our many men and women in uniform. I had one thing unsavory to say concerning the president's administration, and although I did vote for him the primary time round, I used to be blackballed".
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The role made an impression on viewers, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination and paved way for more film opportunities. Please support your men and women in uniform.
"I'd say fifty percent of Lee's dialogue, specifically the insult stuff, came from Lee".
"In the course of hiring the marine recruits, we interviewed hundreds of guys". These include Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, where he talked about the development of the different types of weapons, and the History Channel show Mail Call, in which he provided his knowledge about modern and historic military issues. Among them were voicing Sarge in the "Toy Story" films and playing a helicopter pilot in "Apocalypse Now".
He remained one of the few conservative voices in Hollywood.