Arts&Culture

'Full Metal Jacket' Actor R. Lee Ermey Dies At 74

'Full Metal Jacket' Actor R. Lee Ermey Dies At 74

His longtime manager, Bill Rogin, announced Ermey's death on the actor's Facebook page and said that Ermey was a "family man, a kind and gentle soul".

IMDb says Ermey served 14 months in Vietnam and later served two terms in Japan before injuries forced him into retirement. He retired from the service after 11 years.

Ermey's career post-Full Metal Jacket was prolific, with around 60 film roles and a host of TV appearances to his credit. He had a series of other small roles until his casting in 1987's Full Metal Jacket. From 1965 to 1967, he was a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

He also acted as a military consultant to director Francis Ford Coppola on the movie, a role he was only originally hired for by Kubrick on Full Metal Jacket. Having been a D.I., he wrote his own material and received very little direction from Kubrick.

According to Kubrick, Ermey also had a awful auto accident one night in the middle of production and was out for four and half months with broken ribs.

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Eight years later, Ermey was cast in Full Metal Jacket, using his experience as a drill instructor to improvise most of his lines.

"He will be greatly missed by all of us", he wrote. "After medical retirement... I didn't know what to do, so I bought a run-down bar and whorehouse in Okinawa".

His performance proved so iconic that it not only spawned many timeless quotes like 'What is your major malfunction?', but also earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

He would go on to play various types of men of authority in films like Se7en, The Frightners, 2003's Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot, Mississippi Burning, and even comedies like Saving Silverman.

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". As fans of his show Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey will remember, he would sometimes mention his wife during episodes, referring to her as "Mrs. Gunny".


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