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RIP: R. Lee. Ermey – Sarge “Toy Story”, “Full Metal Jacket”, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”

R. Lee Ermey, 74, passed away Sunday, April 15, 2018 from complications from pneumonia. His agent, Bill Rogin posted on Ermey’s Facebook page:


Ermey is best remembered for his roles as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, as the voice of Sarge in the Toy Story films, and his series on the History Channel: Mail Call. Ermey served in the United States Marine Corps as a staff sergeant and an honorary gunnery sergeant. Ermey served as a drill instructor during his tenure in the Marine Corps.

Ermey was born in Emporia, Kansas. In his teens they moved to Toppenish, Washington. It was in Toppenish, he had a couple brushes with the law that landed him before a judge with the choice of jail time or military service. He chose the Marine Corps. In his service, he served in Japan and then Vietnam. In 1972, he was “medically retired for injuries received, ” as stated on his site.

Using the funds from his GI Bill, when he retired, he studied drama University of Manila in the Philippines. It was during this time that Francis Ford Coppola was filming Apocalypse Now, and he was cast in the film. This lead to more roles in front of and behind the camera as a military consultant. It was in this role he first started with Full Metal Jacket, but quickly stole the screen and in an unheard of move for Kubrick, he allowed Ermey to write, edit, and even improvise his lines for the film, unheard of for Kubrick and earning Ermey nominations for Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor.

This lead to more roles with similar characters in Space: Above and Beyond, and The Frighteners. Ermey appeared in 60 films, from dramas, such as, Purple Hearts, Mississippi Burning, Dead Man Walking, to comedies, such as, Fletch Lives, Leaving Las Vegas,  Saving Silverman, Man of the House, to horror films, such as, two Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, the remake of Willard, to lending his voice for animated features, such as, the Toy Story film series and even X-Men 3.

He also lent his voice to such TV shows as Kim Possible, The Simpsons, Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, Invader Zim, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. 

Beyond the series he starred in for The History Channel: Lock and Loaded with R. Lee Ermey, and Mail Call, he also appeared in on House, X-Files, Human Target, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Tales from the Crypt. 

Not one to keep to just one thing, he also lent his voice to video games, such as, Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, Call of Duty: Ghosts, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and Half-Life: Opposing Force. 

Our hearts go out Ermey’s wife and family and friends. Gunny, you have been a motivating part of our childhood. You shall not be forgotten, Sir, Gunny, Sir! Booyah!

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