It was Ermey's military experience and persona that landed him dozens of authority-figure roles over a almost 40-year film and television acting career.
He then channeled that experience into his role as the petrifying Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 Vietnam classic Full Metal Jacket, who would shriek at his recruits and bully them into becoming combat-ready Marines. The actor was actually a former Marine Corps staff sergeant and drill instructor, bringing an authenticity and intensity to the role from the very first - now utterly iconic - scene.
Ermey additionally voiced the little inexperienced military man Sarge within the Toy Story movies and hosted a number of weapons-related TV reveals together with the Historical past Channel's Lock n' Load With R Lee Ermey.
"He will be greatly missed by all of us", Ermey's longtime manager Bill Rogin announced on on Twitter. "Matter of fact, call me back, I'm ready to go". They didn't know what he was going to say, and we could see how they reacted. It is a awful loss that nobody was prepared for. "He has meant so much to so many people", Rogin told Task & Purpose in a statement. And, it is extremely hard 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. 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. He was generous to everyone around him. He was later awarded the honorary rank of gunnery sergeant.
It was Hartman's insatiable put-downs and insults - many of which Ermey ad-libbed himself - that stole the film and saw him revered in the film industry. And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. "That's what he wanted most of all".
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