On Sunday, R. Lee Ermey’s long-time manager informed the world that a little after 6:30 p.m. EST, the beloved R. Lee Ermey “The Gunny” passed away Sunday morning due to complications from pneumonia.
Ermey was a beloved actor, Marine and staple of American culture.
He is most well-known for playing Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket,” which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Ermey is a former United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and an honorary gunnery sergeant; during his tenure in the U.S. Marine Corps, he served as a drill instructor.
This is a statement from R. Lee Ermey’s long-time manager, Bill Rogin:
It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey (“The Gunny”) passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us. It is a terrible loss that nobody was prepared for. He has meant so much to so many people. And, 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. 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. He was generous to everyone around him. And, he especially cared deeply for others in need.
There is a quote made famous in Full Metal Jacket. It’s actually the Riflemen’s Creed. “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.”
There are many Gunny’s, but this one was OURS. And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. Please support your men and women in uniform. That’s what he wanted most of all.
Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed.
Here is the famous opening scene of “Full Metal Jacket.”
Ermey appeared in more than 60 films, including Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, Purple Hearts, Mississippi Burning, The Siege of Firebase Gloria, Dead Man Walking, Se7en, Fletch Lives, Leaving Las Vegas, Prefontaine, Saving Silverman, On Deadly Ground, Sommersby, Life, Man of the House, Toy Soldiers and The Salton Sea, as well as the remake of Willard, and as an evil sadist in two The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films.