Bill Rogin, the actor’s longtime manager, released a statement tonight announcing the sad news that R. Lee Ermey passed away at the age of 74 this morning.
“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,” Rogin wrote over on Facebook. “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.“
Rogin continued, “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.”
R. Lee Ermey, who in real life was a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps, serving 14 months in Vietnam and two tours in Okinawa, Japan, is of course most known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, a show-stealing performance that nabbed him a Golden Globe nomination in 1988. On the horror scene, Ermey was in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners, and later played the unforgettable Sheriff Hoyt in both Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
Ermey also appeared in The Rift, The Terror Within II, Body Snatchers, “Tales from the Crypt,” Se7en, Leaving Las Vegas, Toy Story 1-3, “The X-Files” and Willard. Between 2015 and 2017, Ermey hosted the reality series “GunnyTime with R. Lee Ermey.”
R. Lee Ermey was truly one of a kind, to say the very least.