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

Known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, Ermey died from complications of pneumonia.
Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Actor, television personality and former U.S. Marine Corps gunnery sergeant R. Lee Ermey attends the 2016 National Shooting Sports Foundation's Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show on January 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

LOS ANGELES — R. Lee Ermey, the character actor famous for his bristling, Golden Globe-nominated role as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, has died at age 74.

Ronald Lee Ermey was himself a Marine for 11 years (who retired in 1971), a staff sergeant who served in Vietnam and Okinawa, Japan, and was later awarded the honorary rank of gunnery sergeant.

The actor was known for playing military and law-enforcement figures, including the voice of Sarge, the leader of the little green army men in the Toy Story movies; Sheriff Hoyt in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (2003), and a police captain in Se7en (1995).

His manager, Bill Rogin, shared the news of Ermey's death on social media Sunday night, and said the actor died from complications of pneumonia.

"Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket fame was a hard and principled man," said Rogin. "The real R. Lee Ermey was a family man, and a kind and gentle soul. He was generous to everyone around him. And, he especially cared deeply for others in need.

"Please support your men and women in uniform. That's what he wanted most of all. Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed."

Ermy studied criminology and drama at the University of Manila after his time in the military, and launched his acting career as a Marine in 1978's The Boys in Company C. Francis Ford Coppola hired him for an uncredited role as a helicopter pilot in 1979's Apocalypse Now.

His big breakthrough came with Full Metal Jacket, for which he was initially hired to train the actor cast as the drill sergeant before being given the role himself.

On TV, Ermey had voice roles on The Simpsons (as Colonel Leslie Hapablap) and Family Guy.

Matthew Modine, his Full Metal Jacket co-star, quoted poet Dylan Thomas as he remembered the actor.

Donald J. Trump Jr. hailed Ermey as "a legend and a great American."

Well today we lost a legend and a great American. I am proud to have had R. Lee Ermey as a friend and shooting teammate. If you thought he was motivating in Full Metal Jacket you should have seen him on the firing line when points mattered. I’ll never forget those moments just not sure I can relay them fully here... just take my word for it LEGENDARY!!! (I wish I filmed his reaction to me bringing a pink gun to shoot in a match see pic 2. He was having none of my “it takes a real man to shoot a pink gun” line. I made it just for that response and he did not disappoint.) They unfortunately don’t make many like him these days. Thanks for your friendship sir. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Rest In Peace Gunny!!! #gunny #ermey #rip #semperfi

A post shared by Donald Trump Jr. (@donaldjtrumpjr) on

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