R. Lee Ermey, a native of Emporia, Kan., remembered by many for his performance as a hard-charging and relentless gunnery sergeant in the movie Full Metal Jacket, has died, according to his longtime manager.
Ermey died Sunday morning from pneumonia-related complications. He was 74.
In real life, Ermey served 11 years in the U.S. Marines, including stints as a staff sergeant in Vietnam and in Okinawa, Japan. He was later awarded the honorary rank of gunnery sergeant.
Ermey's performance in the 1987 Stanley Kubrick film catapulted him to stardom and nomination for a Golden Globe Award. Ermey immortalized a variety of memorable catch phrases such as "What is your major malfunction?"
He also played a helicopter pilot in “Apocalypse Now,” and the voice of the little green army solider in the "Toy Story" films. Ermey enjoyed a long and productive career portraying military and law enforcement roles. Those roles included Sheriff Hoyt in 2003’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and a police captain in “Se7en.”
Bill Rogin, Ermey's longtime manager, told the Associated Press that while Ermey's characters were often hard and principled, the real Ermey was a family man and a kind and gentle soul who supported the men and women who serve.