Full Metal Jacket Drill Sergeant Dies

'The real R. Lee Ermey was a family man, and a kind and gentle soul'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2018 1:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine who made a career in Hollywood playing hard-nosed military men like Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, has died. Ermey's longtime manager Bill Rogin says he died Sunday morning from pneumonia-related complications, the AP reports. He was 74. The Kansas native, who served as a drill sergeant at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego from 1965 to 1967, was nominated for a Golden Globe for his memorable performance in Kubrick's film, immortalizing lines like "What is your major malfunction?" He also voiced the little green army man Sarge in the Toy Story films and played a helicopter pilot in Apocalypse Now, among many other roles.

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Ermey, who grew up on a farm near Kansas City and enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was 17, also hosted History Channel programs including Mail Call, in which he answered questions about the military. "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 Sunday, per the Wichita Eagle. "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."

(Read more obituary stories.)

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