Sad news from the show business world: Actor R. Lee Ermey has died at 74, due to complications from pneumonia. He played a number of roles, mostly military-related, the most iconic being his Golden Globe-nominated role as the tough-as-nails drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (“The Gunny”), in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.” Even though Kubrick was a notorious control freak, he admitted that about half of Ermey’s blistering, machine gun insults to his terrified recruits were his own creation.
Military tough talk was second nature to Ermey because he was the real deal. He spent 11 years in the US Marine Corps, including 14 months in Vietnam. He broke into show business as a technical advisor on “Apocalypse Now,” and also played a small part as a helicopter pilot.
It’s interesting to see all the tributes to Ermey pouring in from Hollywood power players, considering he went for several years with no offers of acting jobs. Why? He believed it was because he was a conservative, an NRA board member and an Obama critic. He said, “I was totally blackballed by the (expletive deleted) 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 c**p."
Did they really think R. Lee Ermey was going to leave without telling them exactly what he thought of them?
Semper fi, Gunny.