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‘Full Metal Jacket’ Actor R. Lee Ermey Passed Away Aged 74

He will be missed.

R. Lee Ermey in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

At age 74, actor R. Lee Ermey, unfortunately, has passed away.

In Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, Ermey played the infamously foul-mouthed Sergeant Gunnery Hartman. Despite this being his best-known role, R. Lee Ermey was an accomplished actor.

Sadly, the actor recently died. His manager has reported it is due to complications of pneumonia.

He often portrayed particularly commanding characters. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering the actor had military experience himself.

His experiences connect to the roles he played in a case of art imitating life.  For example, in Se7en, he played a police officer. In the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake he played the sheriff. Oh, and he was the warden in Spongebob Squarepants.

Initially, Ermey only shifted into acting after the Vietnam War. His first major project was starring as a helicopter pilot in Apocalypse Now. He played some parts occasionally, but it was with Kubrick that he got his breakthrough.

At first, he only served as a technical adviser, but Kubrick was so impressed with him that he was chosen for the role of sergeant.

Not only that, but Kubrick gave him a lot of creative freedom. Which is smart, considering the guy was actually in the military, but still. This is Stanley I-made-Shelley-Duvall’s-hair-fall-out-from-stress Kubrick. The actor only needed 2 or 3 takes per scene. Jeez.

This brings us to the iconic scene, which you probably know about even if you haven’t seen the film. How he witheringly reminds the troops how worthless they all are is fantastically portrayed. Be warned, there is some racist and homophobic language in the clip. But the comedy is in how Ermey sells his dickish-ness.

The man had a great career. Unfortunately, it may be overshadowed by this one moment but hey. It’s a funny scene and, indeed, a good one to remember.

I think it’s time for something uplifting. Following the theme of funny yet offensive stuff, this map’ll let you know what stereotypes there are about you.

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