R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine who had a star turn in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket has died at the age of 74-years-old. According to Bill Rogin, Ermey’s longtime manager, R. Lee died on the morning of Sunday, April 15 from pneumonia-related complications. For his roll in Full Metal Jacket, Ermey earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. A Kansas native, Ermey enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1961 at age 17.
Before becoming an actor, Ermey was a former United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and an honorary gunnery sergeant. During his tenure in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ermey also served as a drill instructor. Ermey served 11 years in the Marine Corps and spent 14 months in Vietnam and then in Okinawa, Japan.
In addition to his star turn in Full Metal Jacket, Ermey appeared as Mayor Tilman in the film Mississippi Burning, Bill Bowerman in Prefontaine, Sheriff Hoyt in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, Jimmy Lee Farnsworth in Fletch Lives, a police captain in Se7en, plastic army men leader Sarge in the Toy Story films, Lt. “Tice” Ryan in Rocket Power, the warden in SpongeBob SquarePants, and John House in House.
For his work in the Marines, Ermey was retroactively awarded the Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon after he retired from the military due to his prior service as a Marine Corps recruit training instructor.
Ermey married his wife, Nila, in 1975. The coule had four children together. Ermey died at a hospital in Santa Monica, California from complications related to pneumonia on the morning of April 15, 2018. He was 74 years old.