'Full Metal Jacket' drill sergeant R Lee Ermey dies aged 74

BBC | Published: April 16, 2018 12:52:45 | Updated: April 17, 2018 13:32:40


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Actor R Lee Ermey, best known for his role as foul-mouthed Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Vietnam War film 'Full Metal Jacket', has died aged 74.

The former US Marine Corps soldier turned award-winning actor played a host of military men during his career.

Ermey's manager, posting to the actor's Twitter account, said he died on Sunday morning from "complications of pneumonia".

"He will be greatly missed by all of us," the message read. "Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed."

Born in 1944 in Kansas, Ermey was a staff sergeant in the marine corps in the 1960s and early 1970s, serving tours in Japan and Vietnam. He also served as a real-life drill sergeant.

Ermey later drew on his military experience for his breakout role in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, winning a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of a hardened drill instructor putting young Marine Corps recruits through basic training.

One popular story about Ermey is that he was initially hired as a technical advisor, but Kubrick was so impressed with his demonstration of a drill sergeant's role that he was offered the part.

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