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Overview for R. Lee Ermey
R. Lee Ermey

R. Lee Ermey


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Also Known As: Lee Ermey Died: April 15, 2018
Born: March 24, 1944 Cause of Death: Complications from pneumonia
Birth Place: Emporia, Kansas, USA Profession: Cast ... actor technical advisor model screenwriter soldier


R. Lee Ermey was an intense character actor in film and TV who most often played macho military officers and tough cops. Ermey made an indelible impression as the demanding and brutally derisive Marine drill sergeant in the basic training sequence of Stanley Kubrick's chilling Vietnam drama, "Full Metal Jacket" (1987). His earlier career as a Marine Staff Non-Commissioned Officer serving in Vietnam lent powerful authority to his performance. Ermey medically retired from active duty after sustaining injuries. He moved to Manila in the Philippines where he could afford to live on his disability pay and study for a degree in criminology on the GI Bill. Ermey started each day at the coffee shop of the Manila Hilton where many Hollywood filmmakers dined before the day's location shooting. Eventually one of them asked Ermey to model blue jeans for TV ads. Several ads later, the retired soldier landed a role in a local Tagalog-language film. Several other Filipino features followed before 1976 when Ermey wangled his way onto the set of Francis Ford Coppola's epic production "Apocalypse Now" (which would not be released until 1979). Hired to play a helicopter pilot, Ermey utilized his Vietnam memories to act as a technical advisor as well. This quickly led to a job as a technical advisor and actor on the Sidney J. Furie-directed Vietnam drama. "The Boys in Company C" (1977). Furie gave Ermey his next stateside film job as an actor-advisor in the war melodrama "Purple Hearts" (1984), but his critically-acclaimed performance in "Full Metal Jacket" was when his career really took off. Ermey worked regularly in film and TV following the triumph of "Jacket." He played the mayor who hanged himself in "Mississippi Burning" (1988), a Southern televangelist in "Fletch Lives" (1989), and a succession of military officers, lawmen, athletic coaches and authority figures in various films, including "Leaving Las Vegas," "Se7en," "Dead Man Walking" (all 1995), "The Frighteners" (1996), "Prefontaine" (1997), "Saving Silverman" (2001), "The Salton Sea" (2002), "Willard" (2003), the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (2003) and "Man of the House" (2005), as well as the telepics "Weapons of Mass Distraction" (1997) and "You Know My Name" (1999). He was also the voice of the leader of the plastic green army men in the "Toy Story" films. He also worked in TV, mostly doing guest shots and supporting roles in TV movies as well as a recurring role in the rousing, old-fashioned "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." (Fox, 1993-94), as the late father of the Western hero. He also lent his distinctive bark to numerous animated series and video games as a voiceover actor and hosted the reality series "Gunny Time" (Outdoor, 2015-16). R. Lee Ermey died of complications from pneumonia on April 15, 2018, at the age of 74.


HollisinFairhopeAl ( 2008-11-07 )

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Hosted a show called "Mail Call" on the History Channel for several years. It dealt with military weaponry, personnel, tactics, strategy and history from premedieval times until the present day.

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