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Ronald Lee Ermey (Emporia, March 24, 1944) is a retired United States Marine Corps instructor sergeant and American actor.
He studied drama at the University of Manila (in the Philippines) after the Vietnam War. Almost all the characters he plays are military or authoritarian figures. The most memorable of his interpretations is, undoubtedly, the sergeant of artillery Hartman, chief instructor in Full Metal Jacket, Stanley Kubrick. He hosted a program on history, weapons and military equipment called Mail Call on History Channel.
On May 17, 2002, he was honorably promoted to Artillery Sergeant by the then commandant of the Marine Corps, James L. Jones, thus becoming the first retired member of Marine Corps history to be promoted.
Lee Ermey’s Biography
Born in Emporia, Kansas, Ermey was arrested several times during his youth and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1961 when a judge gave him a choice between enlisting in the military or going to jail.
He spent two years as a drill sergeant at the Marine Recruitment Training Center in San Diego, California, from 1965 to 1967.
In 1968 he served 14 months in Vietnam; after serving twice on the island of Okinawa (Japan), during which time he reached the rank of platoon chief sergeant. He was licensed for medical reasons in 1972 as a result of several injuries suffered during his two stays in Okinawa.
Ermey admits that he still has nightmares because of his experiences in combat and that they are a consequence of post-traumatic stress syndrome.
His first role was as an instructor sergeant (Ssgt Loyce) in the movie The Boys of the Company C. He got the role while studying acting at the University of Manila (Philippines). His second role was as a helicopter pilot in Apocalypse Now, by Francis Ford Coppola. In addition to acting as a pilot in the film, he was also the military’s technical advisor on the film.
After that he played small roles until 1987, when he was hired by Stanley Kubrick as a counselor and to teach the actor who was originally going to play Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. When Kubrick saw a test where Ermey, while instructing the actor, “said fifteen minutes of obscenities without stopping or repeating the same word twice”, decided to give him the role and even let him write part of the dialogues and improvise during the filming. Shortly after Kubrick declared that Ermey was one of the best people with whom he had worked, and who had needed only to do two or three repetitions of each scene. His performance excited the critics and Ermey was nominated for the Golden Globe as best supporting actor and ultimately would be won by Sean Connery with The Untouchables. Years later he played another drill sergeant in the pilot episode of Space: Above and Beyond, a role very similar to that of Full Metal Jacket.
Since then he has appeared in more than sixty films, including Arde Mississippi, Se7en, Leaving Las Vegas and the remakes of Willard and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Ermey has also lent his voice in films such as Toy Story and Toy Story 2, as well as in several video games such as Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel and has appeared in series such as The Simpsons and Family Guy.
In the “Daddy’s boy” chapter of the television series Dr. House he played House’s father, also a military man in fiction, with whom House has a terrible relationship, and in the episode “My old man”, in “Scrubs” “plays the father of the Concierge.
He was the host of the Mail Call program of History Channel (2002-2009), a program about the history and equipment of the different armies of the United States in which during 30 minutes he answers the questions of the spectators to He treats them as if he were an instructor sergeant and they are his recruits. He even makes demonstrations about weapons firing watermelons (his natural enemy) and against paint boats.
More Facts about Lee Ermey
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