Full Metal Jacket drill Sergeant R Lee Ermey dies aged 74

The Vietnam War veteran is best known for his role in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 classic

Sgt. R. Lee Ermey during National Cable & Telecommunications Association Press Tour at The Ritz Carlton Pasadena Hotel in Pasadena, California, United States. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

R Lee Ermy, the actor best known for playing foul-mouthed drill sergeant “The Gunny” in Full Metal Jacket, has passed away aged 74.


The news was announced by his long-time manager Bill Rogin via Ermey’s Twitter account, which stated that the star had succumbed to “complications of pneumonia”.

“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,” the statement read. “He will be greatly missed by all of us.”

Ermey, who solidified his position in popular culture with a series of sweary tirades in Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam war flick, was a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps in the 1960s and 70s and actually served as a drill instructor. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.

His other memorable on-screen appearances include parts in Se7en and Dead Man Walking – and minor voice roles in The Simpsons, Spongebob Squarepants and the Toy Story film series.


Ermey’s Full Metal Jacket co-stars Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio were amongst the chorus of voices paying tribute to the actor on Twitter.