|R. Lee Ermey|
Ronald Lee Ermey|
March 24, 1944 (age 70)
Emporia, Kansas, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, former drill instructor, voice actor|
|Spouse(s)||Nila Ermey (m. 1975)|
United States Marine Corps</td></tr>
|Years of service||
Ronald Lee Ermey (born March 24, 1944) is an American actor, best known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He is a retired U.S. Marine 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 for the roles of authority figures, such as Mayor Tilman in the film Mississippi Burning, Bill Bowerman in Prefontaine, Sheriff Hoyt in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, Jimmy Lee Farnsworth in Fletch Lives, plastic army men leader Sarge in the Toy Story films, and the Warden in SpongeBob SquarePants.
He has hosted two programs on the History Channel: Mail Call, in which he answered viewers' questions about various militaria both modern and historic; and Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, which focused on the development of different types of weapons.
Early life and military careerEdit
Born in Emporia, Kansas, Ermey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1961. Ermey was a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, and Parris Island, South Carolina from 1965 to 1967. Ermey served in Vietnam 14 months with the Marine Wing Support Group 17 beginning in 1968. He then served two tours of duty in Okinawa, Japan, during which he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) and was medically discharged in 1972 for several injuries incurred during his tours.
Ermey was cast in his first film while attending the University of Manila in the Philippines, using his G.I. Bill benefits. He first played a Marine drill instructor (SSgt Loyce) in the 1978 Vietnam-era film The Boys in Company "C", which later brought Ermey to the attention of Stanley Kubrick. Ermey then played an Air Cavalry pilot in Apocalypse Now, doubling as a technical advisor to director Francis Ford Coppola. For the next few years, Ermey played a series of minor film roles until 1987, when he was cast as tough drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. Initially he was intended to be only the technical advisor. Kubrick changed his mind after Ermey put together an instructional tape, in which Ermey went on an extended hair-raising drill instructor tirade towards several extras, convincing Kubrick he was the right person for the role. Seeking absolute military authenticity for the film, Kubrick allowed Ermey to write or edit his own dialogue and improvise on the set, a noted rarity in a Kubrick film. Kubrick later indicated that Ermey was an excellent performer, often needing just two or three takes per scene, also unusual for a Kubrick film. Ermey's performance won critical raves and he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor. He later played a tough drill instructor in the pilot episode of Space: Above and Beyond and ghost of a drill instructor in the film The Frighteners, both similar to his character in Full Metal Jacket.
Ermey has since appeared in approximately sixty films, including 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, The Salton Sea, as well as the remakes of Willard and as an evil sadist in the two The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. Ermey also lent his voice to The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3, as well as Roughnecks and X-Men 3. He usually appears in a commanding military role, for shows such as Kim Possible, The Simpsons, Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, Miami Vice, House, Scrubs, My Life as a Teenage Robot and Invader Zim, in addition to hosting the documentary series Mail Call and Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey.
On Mail Call, Ermey discussed weaponry, tactical matters, and military history. Mail Call's subject matter was dictated by viewer emails; one episode may have focused on an M1A1 Battle Tank, while another may have involved World War II secrets, while a third might have been focused on elements of Medieval warfare. The set consisted of a military tent, other military gear and weapons, and Ermey's personal jeep armed with his own 30 cal. M1919 Browning machine gun.
Ermey traveled to Kuwait in June 2003 during the first phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom to film mail distribution by the Defense Department to service personnel for an episode of Mail Call. According to a 2005 episode of Mail Call filmed at Whiteman Air Force Base, he is the 341st person to fly in the B-2 Stealth Bomber. He also guest-starred in the episode "Second Chance" of Human Target.
Ermey also made guest appearances on theTV drama House, playing the role of Dr. Gregory House's father, who was a decorated Naval Aviator while serving in the Marine Corps ("Birthmarks", "Daddy's Boy"), and the sitcom Scrubs, playing the Janitor's father. He has also voiced Wildcat in several episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. In an episode of The Simpsons entitled "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming", Ermey voiced Colonel Leslie "Hap" Hapablap.
In the episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, "Inmates of Summer", he voiced an irate warden of a maximum security island prison who demoralized the inmates whenever he could. In the episode of The Angry Beavers, "Fancy Prance", he voiced the Lipizzaner Stallions' instructor, Drill Sergeant Goonther.
In 2009, Ermey hosted a second History Channel show entitled Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, which discussed the developmental history of various weapons used by militaries of today.
In late 2010, Ermey starred in a GEICO commercial as a former-drill-instructor-turned-therapist who insults a client, in parody of some of his iconic characters. Ermey also was featured each week on ESPN's College GameDay. His role was to insult the experts' incorrect picks from the previous week. In that same year, Ermey appeared in the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Trophy" as a paroled sex offender.
Ermey lends his voice to several video games, including Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel (as General Barnaky) and Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (as Wa-Wa). He also made a cameo in Real War: Air, Land, Sea, a retail real-time strategy computer game based on the official Joint Chiefs of Staff training game. In the game Fallout 3, there is a recruitable companion named Sergeant RL-3, a modified military robot with a personality very similar to Ermey (the companion's name is a reference to Ermey's initials wherein the 3 is leetspeak for the letter 'e'). In the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion there is a character named "Lieutenant Emry" that speaks some of Ermey's signature lines from Full Metal Jacket.
Ermey is an official spokesman for Black Book, Glock firearms, TRU-SPEC apparel, Tupperware, Victory Motorcycles, Hoover, SOG Specialty Knives, and the Young Marines, and has also appeared in commercials for Coors Light, Dick's Sporting Goods, GEICO and pistachio nuts. He has also provided intro for the PBR. He can also be seen giving a service announcement for Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, demanding that viewers be quiet during the film. He is a board member for the National Rifle Association.
Ermey married his wife Nila in 1975. They have four children. In Ermey's television show Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, he refers to his wife as "Mrs. Gunny."
On May 17, 2002, Ermey received an honorary post-service promotion to Gunnery Sergeant (E-7) from the Commandant of the Marine Corps General James L. Jones in recognition of his continuing support to Americans in military service, a rank consistent with Ermey's character as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket.
He has also conducted morale tours visiting United States troops in locations such as Al Kut, Iraq, and Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in which he filmed parts for his television show Mail Call. While at Bagram Airfield he held a USO type show in which he portrayed GySgt Hartman and conducted a comedy routine. He also did the same at Doha, Qatar and Camp Doha, Kuwait City, Kuwait, in 2003.
After retirement, R. Lee Ermey was also retroactively awarded the Drill Instructor Ribbon due to his prior service as a Marine Corps Recruit Training Instructor as well as the Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation for unit activities during the Vietnam War.