Ronald Lee Ermey (March 24, 1944 – April 15, 2018) was an American actor and voice actor. Ermey is known for playing Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He 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.
Ermey has often been typecast in authority figure roles, such as Mayor Tilman in the film Mississippi Burning, Bill Bowerman in Prefontaine, Sheriff Hoyt in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick‘s Full Metal Jacket, Jimmy Lee Farnsworth in Fletch Lives, a police captain in Se7en, plastic army men leader Sarge in the Toy Story films, Lt. “Tice” Ryan in Rocket Power, the warden in SpongeBob SquarePants, and John House in House.
Ermey has hosted two programs on the History Channel: Mail Call, in which he answered viewers’ questions about various military issues both modern and historic; and Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey, which concerned the development of different types of weapons. He also hosted Gunny Time on the Outdoor channel.
Statement from Bill Rogan, R. Lee Ermey’s long-time manager:
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.