I met the Gunny a few times at SHOT. If it wasn’t at the GLOCK booth where he was signing autographs, mugging for the cameras and making people laugh who had waited an hour or more for the privilege of saying hello and shaking his hand, he was at the GLOCK range day location, glad-handing media types while he protected his hearing with a .45 cartridge stuffed into each ear.
He was always avuncular, entertaining, funny and, from the few words I exchanged with him now and again, seemed to be a genuinely good human being. Very much the man we’ve seen in commercials, promo videos, on Mail Call (and quite probably during the first half of Full Metal Jacket, too).
Unfortunately, the sad news comes tonight via his Facebook page, that the Gunny’s tour of duty has come to and end. Here’s the statement issued by his manager:
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. 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.
There is a quote made famous in Full Metal Jacket. It’s actually the Riflemen’s Creed. “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.”
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.
Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed.
And of course, this classic: (NSFW)
Semper Fi, Gunny...you will be missed, but always remembered.
Brings up an interesting question. Years back we had masculine entertainers that kids looked up too. Now what do we have?
I remember one interview with another actor talking about coming out of some Hollywood event with The Duke. There was an anti war protest going on and some young guy had a North Vietnamese flag he was waving in the actors faces as they came out. John Wayne walked up to him and ripped the flag out of his hands and said in his John Wayne way to the kid. The other actor said the kid about crapped himself when he realized who was in front of him and ran off. Funny I’m sure could scare the crap out of almost any civilian when he stood nose to nose.
by John Nolte
Actor R. Lee Ermey, who died at 74 of pneumonia Sunday morning, was Exhibit A in the New Hollywood Blacklist. After criticizing Barack Obama in 2010, Ermey’s thriving film career immediately dried up. Even after apologizing, he was ostracized, fired by GEICO insurance and never did another commercial. After disappearing completely for a few years, he managed to appear in a couple of C-grade reality shows in the last few years of his life.
Iconic and talented, Ermey was a walking-talking example of left-wing Hollywood’s intolerance toward those they condemn as thought criminals.
Ermey, who was known to his friends as “Gunny,” enlisted in the Marines in 1961 when he was only 17, and spent 14 months in Vietnam before earning a honorable discharge after 11 years of service.
His screen career began in 1978 with a small role as a drill instructor in The Boys In Company C. He also appeared as a helicopter pilot in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979). Some lean years followed, but Ermey’s career exploded in 1987 with Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket where Ermey was unforgettable (to say the least) as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, a drill instructor who pushes a recruit (Vincent D’ Onfrio) too far.
Ermey was only supposed to be a technical advisor for Kubrick, but he asked for an audition and not only nailed the role, the famously finicky and precise director went so far as to allow Ermey to improvise.
Inside Kubrick’s intentionally sterile and hypnotic world that is the first half of Full Metal Jacket, Ermey’s masterpiece of a performance is not only a harbinger of the hell to come in the second half, but the first half’s humanity — in ways both good and bad, funny and menacing, father figure and monster.
Ermey says he voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but in 2010 he was blacklisted in Hollywood (no one disputes this) for souring on and then publicly criticizing the president. Over his personal political opinion, he was also fired as a commercial spokesman for GEICO insurance.
Here is what Ermey said that cost him his career. While you’re reading this, remember all the vile things Hollywood has said about Trump, including Avengers director Joss Whedon wishing Trump dead:
We’re having a big problem this year. The economy really sucks. Now I really hate to point fingers at anybody, but the present [Obama] administration probably has a lot to do with it. And the way I see, they aren’t going to quit doing it until they bring this country to its knees. So I think we should all rise up and we should stop this administration from what they’re doing, because they are destroying this country. They’re driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us. That’s exactly what they’re doing, and I’m sick and damn tired of it and I know you are too. But I know the Maince Corps’ gunna be here forever and this administration won’t. – December 10, 2010 – video.
On his website, Ermey apologized for these comments the following month.
“I regret that I delivered a monologue that was inappropriately critical of the President. My comments were misguided and emotionally biased, and for that I am truly sorry,” he wrote.
But it was too late. Intolerant Hollywood would never forgive him. His film career immediately dried up. What followed were two reality shows, one on the Outdoor Channel, the other on Lifetime.
The good news is that before left-wing Hollywood blacklisted him, Ermey had a pretty good run., including Mississippi Burning (1988), Toy Soldiers (1990), Toy Story 1,2,3 (1995 – 2010), The Frighteners (1996), a hilarious turn in the horribly under-appreciated Saving Silverman (2000), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), and countless television appearances.
Here are some of his best personal quotes.
“If you’re a conservative in this town [Hollywood], you better watch out.” – video.
“I’m an Independent, but I said something bad about the president. I had something unsavory to say about the president’s administration, and even though I did vote for him the first time around, I was blackballed … Do you realize I have not done a movie in five to six years? Why? Because I was totally blackballed by the… liberals in Hollywood. They can destroy you. They’re hateful people [who] don’t just not like you, they want to take away your livelihood… that’s why I live up in the desert on a dirt road… I don’t have to put up with their crap.” – video.
“I don’t have any respect at all for the scum-bags who went to Canada to avoid the draft or to avoid doing their fair share.”
“You can take a man out of the Corps, but you can’t take the Corps out of the man.”
“It’s been a pretty fun ride, to tell you the truth.”
” I know that if Trump were to be elected, I know that our Second Amendment rights are solid as a rock for four years, or whatever his term might be. Donny Trump is on my shooting team, by the way. He’s a heckuva shot. ” – video.
Ermey is survived by his wife of 43 years, Nila, who he referred to as “Mrs. Gunny.” They had four children.
Ermey is also survived by a second-to-none performance in Full Metal Jacket that will be remembered long after the fascist monsters who blacklisted him are worm food.