R. Lee Ermey, the long-time Marine who found a second career as a movie actor, died Sunday at the age of 74.
Ermey died from complications of pneumonia.
The former Staff Sergeant (and Honorary Gunnery Sergeant) who served in Vietnam shot to fame with his role in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, featuring a famous scene in which Ermey berated a marine. It was one of the rare times Kubrick ever let an actor improvise a scene.
He also had memorable roles in Toy Story, Seven, The X-Files, and Meggido: The Omega Code 2, in which he played the President of the United States.
This statement was posted on his official Facebook page.
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. It is a terrible loss that nobody was prepared for. He has meant so much to so many people. And, it is extremely difficult 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. He has also contributed many iconic and indelible characters on film that will live on forever. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket fame was a hard and principled man. The real R. Lee Ermey was a family man, and a kind and gentle soul. He was generous to everyone around him. And, he especially cared deeply for others in need.
There is a quote made famous in Full Metal Jacket. It’s actually the Riflemen’s Creed. “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.”
There are many Gunny’s, but this one was OURS. And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. Please support your men and women in uniform. That’s what he wanted most of all.
Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed.
Here is the Facebook post.
Statement from R. Lee Ermey's long time manager, Bill Rogin:It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all…
Here is the famous opening scene from Full Metal Jacket, featuring Ermey. Please note: the language is not safe for work.
Here is the famous “jelly doughnut” scene from the film.