Famed character actor R. Lee Ermey, best known for playing loudly voiced figures in authority, has died. The actor passed away from complications with pneumonia.
Ermey was a United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and drill instructor who broke into acting, with his most famous role in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” seeing him taking on that same job onscreen as a vulgarity-laced drill instructor who pushes recruits to (and past) their breaking point. Ermey improvised much of the part, a rare thing for a Kubrick film.
Ermey also served as a technical advisor on “Apocalypse Now” and had a small role in that. Other notable roles include a duplicitous TV reverend in “Fletch Lives,” a police captain in “Se7en,” a mayor in “Mississippi Burning,” a judge in “Murder in the First,” a sheriff in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” reboot, and Bruce Campbell’s dad in “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” series.
He was also army generals in the likes of “Toy Soldiers,” “Body Snatchers,” “The Frighteners,” “The Sender, and the “Toy Story” films (in toy form). Other roles included parts in “Sommersby,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” “The X-Files,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Prefontaine,” “Switchback,” “Cracker,” “Recess: School’s Out,” the “Willard” remake, “The Salton Sea” and “Run Ronnie Run.