Actor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran R. Lee Ermey, best known as “The Gunny” in “Full Metal Jacket,” has died at the age of 74 of complications from pneumonia, his manager said Sunday night in a statement. Ermey died the morning of April 15, his longtime manager, Bill Rogin, said. Rogin said “He will be greatly missed by all of us. Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed.”
Ermey earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 war film. But he also appeared in several other movies, typically in an authority figure role, and later hosted TV shows on the History Channel about the military. Before becoming an actor, Ermey served as a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps and was a drill instructor during part of his military career. He was later named an honorary gunnery sergeant.
“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,” Rogin said in a Facebook post. “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.”
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.
Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed. pic.twitter.com/vf4O78JKmb
— R. Lee Ermey (@RLeeErmey) April 15, 2018
Rogin added, “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.”
Ermey joined the Marine Corps at the age of 17 after getting in trouble as a teenager. He served in the aviation support field after completing basic training in San Diego in 1961 and then became a drill instructor in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, according to the bio on his website. In 1968, Ermey was deployed to Vietnam. He spent 14 months with Marine Wing Support Group 17 and then was stationed for two tours in Okinawa. He rose to staff sergeant and was given medical retirement in 1972 because of injuries he suffered during his career. In 2002, he received an honorary promotion …read more