Full Metal Jacket Actor R. Lee Ermey Dead at 74

Full Metal Jacket Actor R. Lee Ermey Dead at 74

Carla Harmon
April 16, 2018

He went on to seem in some 60 movies, usually in military-related roles, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his efficiency in Full Steel Jacket. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for one year until 1968, when he was moved to Vietnam and spent 14 months in country.

R. Lee Ermey, the real life U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant who made a significant impression on movie audiences for his portrayal of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's dark Vietnam War picture, Full Metal Jacket, died Sunday morning (April 15) from complications of pneumonia at 74.

Ermey served in the Marine Corps from 1961-1972, according to the Marine Times.

His long-time manager Bill Rogin confirmed that he died on Sunday morning, following complications from pneumonia in hospital in Santa Monica, California. It's said that Ermey wrote much of his characters extensive speeches, in which he goaded the troops-in particular Vincent D'Onofrio's dimwitted Private "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence.

The part he would become most well-known for, in "Full Metal Jacket", wasn't even originally his.

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.

'In the course of hiring the marine recruits, we interviewed hundreds of guys. We lined them all up and did an improvisation of the first meeting with the drill instructor. "I think we can't just ignore terrorism, we cant just turn our back on it and expect it to go away". Lee came up with, I don't know, 150 pages of insults'. Kubrick ultimately chose to use him in the final film, which earned Ermey a Golden Globe nomination.

In recent times, he was the host of Outdoor Channel's "GunnyTime with R. Lee Ermey" (2015-2017).

Nicknamed "The Gunny", Ermey was a talented character actor who appeared in a number of other films, including Apocalypse Now, Se7en, Mississippi Burning and Prefontaine, and provided voices in animated projects like SpongeBob SquarePants and Toy Story, in which he voiced plastic army sergeant Sarge.

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