Ronald Lee Ermey (March 24, 1944 – April 15, 2018) was an American actor, and Marine drill instructor. He achieved fame for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
A talented character actor known for his military roles, Ronald Lee Ermey was in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and later was bestowed the honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant by the Marine Corps, after he served 14 months in Vietnam and later did two tours in Okinawa, Japan.
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Apr 15, 2018 · R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine Corps drill instructor known to millions of moviegoers as the sadistic Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket," died Sunday morning,...
- 2 min
- Samuel Chamberlain
Apr 15, 2018 · Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nominee, and Boston Society of Film Critics Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor in director, Stanley Kubrick's “Full Metal Jacket”, R. Lee Ermey, after more than 25 years in the business, is one of the most successful and talented actors in film and television today, having starred or appeared in over sixty feature films.
Mini Bio (1) A talented character actor known for his military roles, Ronald Lee Ermey was in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and later was bestowed the honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant by the Marine Corps, after he served 14 months in Vietnam and later did two tours in Okinawa, Japan.
- Early Life
- Military Career
- Acting Career
- Political Views
- Military Appearances
- Awards and Decorations
- Other Media
- External Links
Ermey was born Ronald Lee Ermey in Emporia, Kansas on March 24, 1944. He grew up with five brothers on a farm outside of Kansas City, Kansas. In 1958, when Ermey was 14, he and his family left Kansas and moved to Zillah, Washington. As a teenager, Ermey often got in trouble with the local authorities, and was arrested twice for criminal mischief by age 17.After his second arrest, a judge gave him a choice between joining the military or being sent to jail; Ermey chose the military.
U.S. Marine Corps
In 1961, at age 17, Ermey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in San Diego, California.For his first few years, he served in the aviation support field before becoming a drill instructor in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, where he was assigned from 1965 to 1967. Ermey then served in Marine Wing Support Group 17 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa,...
Ermey was cast in his first film while attending the University of Manila in the Philippines, using his G.I. Bill benefits. He portrayed a First Air Cavalry chopper pilot in Apocalypse Now, doubling as a technical advisor to director Francis Ford Coppola. Ermey was then cast as a Marine drill instructor in Sidney J. Furie's The Boys in Company C. For the next few years, Ermey played a series of minor film roles until 1987, when he was cast as drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanl...
On December 14, 1994, Ermey portrayed a sheriff in Tales from the Crypt, season six, episode nine, "Staired in Horror." He also played the role of Reverend Patrick Findley, a minister, in The X-Files season 3, episode 11, "Revelations." On Mail Call, Ermey discussed weaponry, tactical matters, and military history. Mail Call's subject matter was dictated by viewer emails; one episode focused on an M1 Abrams tank, while others involved World War II secrets, and others focused on elements of me...
In 1993, Ermey voiced Lyle the Handyman in Double Switch, a game also starring Corey Haim and Debbie Harry. Ermey lent his voice to several video games, including Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel (as General Barnaky) and Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (as Wa-Wa). He also made a cameo in Real War: Air, Land, Sea, a retail real-time strategy computer game based on the official Joint Chiefs of Staff training game. In 2014, he did voice-over work for Call of Duty: Ghosts. Several chara...
Ermey was an official spokesman for Black Book (National Auto Research), Glock firearms, TRU-SPEC apparel, Tupperware, Victory Motorcycles, Hoover, SOG Specialty Knives, WD-40, Young Marines, and appeared in commercials for Coors Light, Dick's Sporting Goods, GEICO, and pistachio nuts. He provided the introduction for the Professional Bull Riders. He can be seen giving a service announcement for Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, demanding that viewers be quiet during the film. He was a board member for the National Rifle Association.
Ermey described himself as an independent. In 2008, he voted for Barack Obama, but subsequently criticized his policies. Ermey said in an interview earlier in 2015 that he supported Ted Cruzfor President. He said, "You know what, I just watched Ted Cruz — I mean, what a tough act to follow. I'm not going to tell you who I'm going to vote for, but I'm going to let you guess [...] and the first two guesses don't count!".
On May 17, 2002, Ermey received an honorary post-service promotion to gunnery sergeant (E-7) from the Commandant of the Marine Corps General James L. Jonesin recognition of his continuing support to Americans in military service. He conducted morale tours, visiting United States troops in locations such as Al Kut, Iraq, and Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in which he filmed parts for his television show Mail Call. While at Bagram Airfield, he held a USO-type show in which he portrayed GySgt Hartman and conducted a comedy routine. He also did the same at Doha, Qatar and Camp Doha, Kuwait City, Kuwait, in 2003.
On the morning of April 15, 2018, Ermey died at a hospital in Santa Monica, California from complications related to pneumonia. He was 74 years old. His funeral was held in Arlington National Cemeteryon Friday, January 18, 2019 where his ashes are buried.
Ermey was retroactively awarded the Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbonafter he retired from the military due to his prior service as a Marine Corps recruit training instructor. Ermey's military awards included:Ermey recorded voice lines for a "talking" 12-inch tall "motivational action figure" depicting him in USMC drill instructor uniform, which replays his signature put-downs with the press of an elect...In the early 1990s, Ermey appeared as a Martian pilot in a training video for Virtual World Entertainment's game Red Planet, alongside other actors, such as Cheech Marin, Nora Dunn, "Weird Al" Yank...In the Green Lantern series of comics published by DC, it is revealed that Green Lantern Kilowog(who trains all new Green Lantern recruits) was in turn trained by a Green Lantern named Ermey.He had a notable appearance on The Howard Stern Showin October 2002, appearing as Sgt. Hartman.
Apr 15, 2018 · Getty R. Lee Ermey. Ermey served in the Marines, where he was “a staff sergeant who served in Vietnam and Okinawa, Japan, and was later awarded the honorary rank of gunnery sergeant,” USA Today...
- Blake Stilwell
- His first job after the military was untraditional. Ermey was medically retired from the Marine Corps and was at a loss about what to do as a civilian.
- His first role was an Army helicopter pilot. It was while in the Philippines that the future Gunnery Sergeant was cast in “Apocalypse Now” by Francis Ford Coppola himself.
- He wasn’t supposed to be in “Full Metal Jacket.” Ermey was doing his job as technical advisor, reading the part of Sgt. Hartman while interviewing extras for the film.
- Ermey is the only Marine to be promoted after retiring. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant after spending 14 months in Vietnam and doing two tours in Okinawa.
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