Beloved actor and television star R. Lee Ermey, who portrayed the tough-as-nails “Gunnery Sergeant Hartman” in the movie Full Metal Jacket, has died at 74.
Ermey’s manager and publicist Bill Rogin, confirmed his death from complications due to pneumonia, according to a Facebook announcement on Sunday.
Ermey is best remembered for his role in the 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, where his character met an unseemly demise at the hands of a deranged Marine Corps Boot Camp trainee. Ermey received a Golden Globe nomination for his betrayal of the no-nonsense Hartman.
The decorated former real-life Marine Corps drill instructor served in Vietnam and loaned his knowledge and experience to add realism to movies that include Apocalypse Now and The Boys In Company C, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In addition to a long list of contributions to theatrical movies, Ermey also hosted two popular television shows on The History Channel, Mail Call and Lock n’ Load, along with Gunny Time on the Outdoor Channel.
Ermey also did voice-over work for video games such as Crash Bandicoot and appeared as the voice of the drill instructor in Call of Duty: Ghosts, from the immensely popular COD series.
Ermey’s tough-guy persona on television and in movies contrasted his real life. According to his manager and others close to him, Ermey was a “family man with a kind and gentle soul” and a person who cared deeply for others.
Although Ermey identified himself as a political independent, many of his views aligned closely with the Republican party. As an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, Ermey also served as a board member of the National Rifle Association.
According to Fox News Ermey’s conservative views led to him being “blackballed” in Hollywood. Ermey, who was reportedly a critic of former president Barack Obama, said that his opposition to Obama and support of the NRA agenda cost him additional work in Hollywood.
Ermey drew criticism for remarks he made during a speech at the 2010 Toys For Tots event, where he said that Obama was destroying the country. According to Ermey, his comment allegedly cost him a lucrative deal as a spokesman for Geico. He later apologized for the statement.
Ermey is survived by his wife of 33 years, Nila, and four children. No information on funeral arrangements was announced at the time of this report.