Ronald Lee Ermey was an American actor and voice actor. He achieved fame when he played Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Ermey died from complications of pneumonia, according to Bill Rogin, his manager, in a post on Twitter. CNN’s calls and emails to Rogin were not returned.
“He will be greatly missed by all of us,” the message read. “Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed.”
Born in 1944 in Kansas, Ermey was a staff sergeant in the marine corps in the 1960s and early 1970s, serving tours in Japan and Vietnam. He also served as a real-life drill instructor.
Ermey later drew on his military experience for his breakout role in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, winning a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of a hardened drill instructor putting young marine corps recruits through basic training.
One popular story about Ermey is that he was initially hired as a technical advisor, but Kubrick was so impressed with his demonstration of a drill instructor’s role that he was offered the part.
Kubrick told Rolling Stone that 50% of Ermey’s dialogue in the 1987 film was his own. “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. They didn’t know what he was going to say, and we could see how they reacted. Lee came up with, I don’t know, 150 pages of insults,” Kubrick said.
Ermey also appeared in movies such as “Dead Man Walking,” “Seven,” “Prefontaine” and “Leaving Las Vegas.”
He also did voice-overs and lighter content, lending his voice to “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy,” as well as the “Toy Story” movies, where he voiced Sergeant or just “Sarge,” the green Army soldier.
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