March 24, 1944 – April 15, 2018 - Longtime Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel television show host and acclaimed actor R. Lee Ermey – known to millions as Gunny – passed away on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at the age of 74. Read more about his legacy below.
Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nominee, and Boston Society of Film Critics Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor in director, Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”, R. Lee Ermey, after more than 25 years in the business, was one of the most successful and talented actors in film and television, having starred or appeared in over sixty feature films.
His numerous roles in feature films included: “Switchback”, starring opposite Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover, “Dead Man Walking”, “Seven”, “Leaving Las Vegas”, “Murder In The First”, “Life”, “The Frighteners” and “Sommersby” as well as his critically acclaimed role opposite Jared Leto in “Prefontaine”. He had numerous voice-over roles, which span from The Simpsons to Family Guy to “Toy Story” (1 through 3).
Ermey served 11 years active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. He rose to the rank of staff NCO, served two years as a drill instructor and a tour of duty in Vietnam. Medically retired in 1971, he used his G.I. Bill benefits, and enrolled at the University of Manila in the Philippines where he studied drama. Francis Ford Coppola was filming “Apocalypse Now” in the area and cast Ermey in a featured role. He has since gone on to star or appear in approximately sixty films.
Ermey was no stranger to prestigious television either. He starred in numerous telefilms including HBO’s “Weapons of Mass Distraction”, TNT’s “The Rough Riders”, and TNT’s “You Know My Name”, as well as Showtime’s “The Apartment Complex”.
Ermey starred in “Saving Silverman”, with Jason Biggs, Jack Black, Steve Zahn and Amanda Peet. Lee appeared opposite Jeff Bridges in “Scenes of the Crime” and Harvey Keitel in “Taking Sides”. For New Line he starred in the remake of “Willard” with Crispin Glover. And, also for New Line, he starred in the remake of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” as well as the prequel “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” where he reprised his infamous character, Sheriff Hoyt. Ermey also hosted his own show for the History Channel, called Mail Call, which ran for 8 seasons, and 100 episodes. It focused on military technology past, present and future. He then hosted Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey on the History Channel, which can now be seen on H2 and History International. He also hosted Saving Private K-9 on The Sportsman Channel. He is currently producing and hosting GunnyTime with R. Lee Ermey.
R. Lee Ermey was the spokesperson for GLOCK for over eleven years. And, was the spokesperson for Victory Motorcycles, SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, Rugged Ridge and Tru Spec Apparel. Previously, he represented other quality products such as Coors, Nissan, Advanced Auto Parts, Wonderful Pistachios, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cub Cadet Commercial, Medeco, Fritos, Geico, Black Book Online and WD-40. He was also the face of the Armed Forces Bowl game on ESPN, and has been so for the last few years.
R. Lee Ermey had a long time role as spokesperson for the Young Marines Youth Organization. He made numerous personal appearances on behalf of law enforcement and the military. And, made several trips to the Middle East in support of our troops during our Middle East efforts. Ermey also appeared in “The Watch,” starring Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, and Jonah Hill.
R. Lee Ermey released his book, Gunny’s Rules: How to Get Squared Away Like a Marine, part self-help, part autobiographical, peppered with stories from his interesting life in the Marine Corps as well as some interesting stories on the making of Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.”