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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: actor, technical advisor, model, screenwriter, soldier

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

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...

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.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Toy Story 3 (2010)
4.
5.
 Man of the House (2005) Cast
6.
 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The (2003) Sheriff Hoyt
7.
 Willard (2003) Frank Martin
8.
 Taking Sides (2002) General Wallace
9.
 Salton Sea, The (2002) Verne Plummer
10.
 Run, Ronnie, Run (2002) Lead Kidnapper
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Milestones close milestones

1997:
Featured on the ABC drama series "Cracker"
1997:
Portrayed coach Bill Bowerman in "Prefontaine"
2003:
Co-starred as Mr. Martin in "Willard"
1989:
First writing credit, additional dialogue for "The Siege of Firebase Gloria"
1999:
Played featured role in "Life"
1988:
First credit as R Lee Ermey, playing the mayor in "Mississippi Burning"
1977:
First released feature as an actor and technical advisor (as Lee Ermey), "The Boys of Company C"
1990:
TV-movie debut, as a corrupt cop in USA Network's "The Take"
2012:
Appeared in his final film role as Manfred in sci-fi action comedy "The Watch"
2016:
Had his final vocal credit, reprising his "Toy Story" character Sarge in the video game "Disney Magic Kingdom"
1997:
Had a vocal cameo in sci-fi sature "Starship Troopers"
2003:
Featured in the horror remake "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
1987:
Acclaimed for his portrayal of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" (also served as technical advisor)
1976:
First work on an American feature, played a helicopter pilot and served as a technical advisor on Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" (released 1979)
1999:
Provided the voice of Sarge in "Toy Story 2"
2006:
Reprised role of Sheriff Hoyt in the prequel "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning"
1993:
Appeared in the recurring role of Brisco County Sr, on "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr."
2001:
Cast as a football coach in "Saving Silverman"
2010:
Reprised the voice of Sarge in "Toy Story 3"
2002:
Cast as Verne Plummer in the drama "The Salton Sea"
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Notes

Served as a Marine staff non-commissioned officer in the 1st Marine Division in I Corps, north of Danang, Vietnam

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Nila Ermey. Married c. 1976.

Contributions

HollisinFairhopeAl ( 2008-11-07 )

Source: not available

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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