R. Lee Ermey dies at 74

R. Lee Ermey dies at 74

R. Lee Ermey, a former drill instructor who became a Marine Corps icon for his portrayal of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman aka "The Gunny" in the 1972 film "Full Metal Jacket, is dead, his manager said".

Ronald Lee Ermey joined the United States Marine Corps at 17 and served in aviation support before becoming a drill instructor. "He will be greatly missed by all of us". Beginning in 1961, Ermey served for about ten years before retiring on a medical disability. In 1997, he told Entertainment Weekly he "bought a run-down bar and whorehouse" in Okinawa, Japan, but eventually moved on to the Philippines, where he landed his first film role as a 1st Air Cavalry pilot in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Ermey was nominated for a Golden Globe award for the role.

Ermey also hosted the History Channel series "Mail Call" and "Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey" and was a board member for the National Rifle Association, as well as a spokesman for Glock.

His supervisor mentioned that whereas his characters have been usually hard-nosed and principled, the actual Ermey was a household man and "a sort and delicate soul".

But his most memorable interpretation and one that made him world famous is that of grumpy and brutal Sergeant Hartman in metallic jacket, shot by Stanley Kubrick in 1987, in which he tries to convert inexperienced recruits in Marines prepared for combat.

"It is with great sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey ('The Gunny') passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia".

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He went on to make more than 60 movies and scores of TV spots, including voice roles on The Simpsons (as Colonel Leslie Hapablap) and Family Guy.

The US Army tweeted: "Rest In Peace, Gunny". He wrote on Ermey's official Facebook page, "It is a awful loss that nobody was prepared for".

Kubrick allowed Ermey to improvise and write or edit his dialogue, and he said Ermey often only needed two or three takes to finish a scene - both unusual for Kubrick films. He has meant so much to so many people.

Some of his other notable film roles include The Frighteners, Se7en, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), and Fletch Lives.

Ermey is survived by his wife of 43 years, Nila Ermey, and their four children.

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