Marine vet, 'Full Metal Jacket' actor R. Lee Ermey dies at 74

Actor R. Lee Ermey has died at age 74

Actor R. Lee Ermey has died at age 74

Actor R. Lee Ermey has died aged 74 following complications from pneumonia.

He played several minor roles for nearly a decade before Kubrick asked him to work as a technical advisor on Full Metal Jacket (1987).

Ermey's longtime agent, Bill Rogin, announced on Twitter on Sunday evening that the actor has passed due to "complications of pneumonia".

Ermey was a staff sergeant in the marine corps in the 1960s and early 1970s, he served in Japan and Vietnam. However, Stanley Kubrick was so impressed by an instructional tape that Ermey put together that he not only cast him, but even let him improvise much of his own dialogue.

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Ermey landed his first film role in 1979's "Apocalypse Now", and also served as a technical adviser to Francis Ford Coppola.

Ermey's long list of acting credits include memorable parts in Mississippi Burning, Murder in the First, Leaving Las Vegas, Seven, The Frighteners, Starship Troopers, Saving Silverman, the Toy Story films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and many more. The actor, marine and former drill instructor appeared in more than 70 films. "He will be greatly missed by all of us", the statement reads. When giving orders to clean the barracks latrine, Ermey's character said: "I want that head so sanitary and squared away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in there and take a dump". They didn't know what he was going to say, and we could see how they reacted. He also hosted military documentary shows like the History Channel's Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, and GunnyTime on the Outdoor Channel. It is a bad loss that nobody was prepared for. The Corps later bestowed an honorary gunnery sergeant rank upon Ermey.

His manager said that while his characters were often hard-nosed and principled, the real Ermey was a family man and "a kind and gentle soul". And, he especially cared deeply for others in need...

Although Ermey identified himself as a political independent, many of his views aligned closely with the Republican party. "That's what he wanted most of all".

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